Specialty apparel retail chain Limited Inc. on Thursday said its second-quarter profits were cut in half, matching Wall Street estimates, and warned that continuing weak sales trends were expected to hurt third-quarter and full-year profits.

The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer, which operates Limited, Express, New York & Co. and Structure stores, said net income for the second quarter ended August 4 fell to $34.4 million, or 8 cents per diluted adjusted share, from $77.6 million, or 17 cents per diluted adjusted share, a year ago.

Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected the company to earn 5 cents to 10 cents a share, with a mean estimate of 8 cents.

Adjusted 2001 results exclude an after-tax gain of $37.1 million from the initial public offerings of Alliance Data Systems Corp. and Galyan's Trading Co. Limited owns minority interests in the two companies.

Limited said that given continuing poor sales trends, it expects to break even for the third quarter and sees full-year earnings "down significantly" from a year earlier.

First Call earnings estimates for Limited's third quarter range from 6 cents to 12 cents a share, with a mean estimate of 9 cents. Estimates for the full year range from 79 cents to 95 cents, with a mean estimate of 86 cents.

Intimate Brands, in which Limited holds an 84 percent stake, on Thursday mirrored those sentiments in its own outlook for the third quarter and full year.

Intimate Brands, which operates Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and Bath & Body Works stores, reported a 30 percent drop in its second-quarter profits. Sales fell 3 percent and sales at stores open at least a year — same-store sales — fell 5 percent.

Limited's second-quarter sales fell to $2.2 billion from $2.3 billion a year earlier, while same-store sales were down 5 percent.

Shares of Limited, which recently completed the sale of its Lane Bryant plus-size apparel unit to Charming Shoppes Inc., slipped slightly to close at $15.20 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, near its year low of $14.50. The stock's 52-week high is $27.87.