Limited Brands (LTD), owner of retail chains including Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, will pay out a special dividend of $3 a share.

The company also plans to buy back $200 million of its shares, Limited Brands said in a statement.

"We have been and remain committed to returning excess cash to shareholders through a combination of ongoing regular dividends, share repurchases and special dividends," CEO Leslie Wexner said.

The company will pay the special dividend on Dec. 21 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 7. The $200 million share repurchase program includes $53 million remaining under a previous program.

Limited Brands reported earnings of 18 cents per share, compared with 2 cents per share a year earlier, excluding an income tax benefit.

Sales at stores open at least one year rose 10% in the third quarter from a year ago. Net sales were $1.98 billion, compared with $1.78 billion a year ago.

Limited Brands forecast fourth quarter earnings of $1.02 per share to $1.17 per share. For 2010, the company forecast earnings per share of $1.82 to $1.97, compared with a previous forecast of $1.68 to $1.83.

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