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Weekly Retail Fix



COLUMBUS, OHIO —Will Limited be Limited much longer? The apparel retailer has been shopping its namesake brand and selling a controlling interest in Express to concentrate on intimates and beauty banners. Last week, Limited Brands said it signed a definitive agreement with affiliates of Golden Gate Capital to sell a 67% ownership interest in its Express brand for cash proceeds of $548 million. The company expects that after-tax cash proceeds will be approximately $425 million, subject to any post closing adjustment.

THE FIX: Company shifts focus to beauty, intimates

So what’s in a name? With suggestions it is seeking strategic alternatives to ownership of The Limited, the Wexler family, which still controls operations, seems prepared to step away from the apparel foundation of its business to focus on such banners as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. Certainly, the company boosted its intimates business recently with the purchase of Canadian retailer, La Senza.

And Limited Brands chairman and ceo Leslie Wexler emphasized in a statement that the company’s strategic agenda focuses on intimate apparel, personal care and beauty growth.

New ownership, Wexler said, will provide Express with resources, leadership focus and capital to maximize the banner’s potential. Express will continue to operate under the same brand name, with Jay Margolis as ceo.

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