Earnings Preview: Higher Profits Forecast for Gap and Limited Brands

Wall Street is hoping profits are back in style for spring when two of the biggest names in specialty retailing report fourth-quarter results. Both Victoria's Secret parent Limited Brands (LTD) and Gap Inc. (GPS), the name behind Banana Republic and Old Navy, are forecast to post improved earnings after a year of maneuvering to boost profit margins despite lower sales. Limited Brands reports results Wednesday after the market close, while Gap is up on Thursday afternoon. Both companies are expected to report comparable-store sales (sales in stores open at least a year) were down in 2009.