L Brands Feb. sales metric tops Street's view

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- L Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works and other retailers, said Thursday that its February sales at stores open at least a year rose 2 percent, topping Wall Street's expectations.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a 1.4 percent increase.

Sales at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

L Brands Inc., formerly known as Limited Brands, said that sales for the four weeks ended March 1 climbed 5 percent to $750 million from $712.7 million.

The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer has 2,919 company-owned stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and its brands are sold in about 600 additional franchised locations globally.

Its shares finished at $48.32 on Wednesday. They are up more than 27 percent since a year ago.