Limited Brands sells remaining stake in namesake chain

Columbus, Ohio Limited Brands on Thursday sold its remaining 25% stake in its namesake chain Limited Stores to its majority owner for $32 million.

The New York Times first reported that the move could be formalized as early as Thursday.

The sale represents Limited Brands’ final transition from clothing to the more profitable goods sold at its other chains, namely beauty products and intimate apparel. Limited Brands operates Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and Canadian lingerie chain La Senza.

The company sold its remaining 25% ownership stake to Sun Capital Partners, the private equity firm that took a 75% controlling interest in the chain in 2007.

The deal will give complete control of the 220-store chain to Sun Capital, a noted turnaround firm.

“The sale supports our focus on intimate apparel, personal care and beauty products,” said Limited Brands CEO Les Wexner. “We wish our long-time partners at Limited Stores continued success.”

Limited Brands will continue to provide logistics and sourcing services to the chain.

Limited Stores CEO Linda Heasley said the transaction is recognition of the successful effort to restart the brand since the initial sale in 2007. The chain plans to open 10 new stores this year and 20 in 2011.

Sun Capital invested $50 million into the business and secured access to $75 million in credit in 2007, which has allowed an expansion of the chain into e-commerce and new product lines as well as store remodeling and a move into a new headquarters in New Albany, Ohio.

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