Limited Brands Inc on Wednesday posted a higher second-quarter net profit, helped by a $304 million gain from the sale of its Express apparel business.

The operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works said quarterly net profit climbed to $264.4 million, or 67 cents per share, compared with $113.1 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earlier this summer, the company sold off majority interests in its flagging Limited and Express apparel chains in order to concentrate on its more lucrative lines, the Victoria's Secret lingerie chain, and Bath & Body Works, which sells personal care items. Victoria's Secret is now expanding stores and adding new categories such as work-out wear.

Excluding one-time items, Limited Brands posted net income of $80.6 million, or 20 cents per share, a penny above Wall Street's consensus estimate of 19 cents, according to Reuters Estimates. The special items included a $302 million pre-tax gain related to the divestiture of the majority interest in Express, representing 46 cents per share; a pre-tax loss of $73 million, or 20 cents per share, related to the divestiture of the majority interest in Limited Stores; and other items.

Total quarterly sales rose 7 percent to $2.62 billion, the company said, while same-store sales -- a key measure of financial performance -- rose 2 percent. Analysts, on average, had expected total sales of $2.64 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Limited Brands said in a statement it was comfortable with the current First Call consensus earnings estimates of 4 cents per share and $1.18 cents per share, for the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

Excluding items, Reuters Estimates had the same outlook for the third and fourth quarters.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company did not break out divisional sales growth. A conference call to discuss second-quarter results is scheduled for Thursday.

Limited shares closed at $22.25, up 16 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.