Limited Brands Inc on Wednesday reported a surprise quarterly profit as cost cuts offset softer sales at the operator of the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains.

Net income came in at $2.6 million, or 1 cent a share, in the first quarter ended May 2, compared with $96.8 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected the company to post a loss of 3 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net sales fell 10.4 percent to $1.725 billion.

Limited shares were up 34 cents at $12 in after-hours trading, after closing at $11.66 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Months ago, the retailer vowed aggressive cost-cutting.

The recession has hurt Limited Brand's sales of non-essential items as shoppers try to save.

Sales at stores open for at least a year fell 7 percent in the first quarter.

Limited is based in Columbus, Ohio.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan)