Originally created 01/16/04

Limited to close aura science stores, but expand cosmetics line

NEW ALBANY, Ohio -- Limited Brands Inc. plans to close its nine stores named aura science but is expanding that line of cosmetics and customized skin-care products by making them available in other stores.

The Limited said it plans to sell the products in 300 of its Victoria's Secret Beauty stores and an unspecified number of Bath & Body Works stores.

"The brand has demonstrated consistently growing customer appeal," said Robin Burns, president and CEO of both Victoria's Secret Beauty and aura science. "We now recognize an opportunity to accelerate its growth through a broader product-distribution strategy."

The aura science stores are expected to close by February. The Limited hopes to offer aura science workers jobs at other stores, spokesman Anthony Hebron said.

Limited, based in the Columbus suburb of New Albany, and Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido started the aura science brand in 2002 to challenge department-store dominance of the cosmetics business.

The Limited operates nearly 4,000 stores nationwide under names also including Express, Express Men's, Limited Stores, White Barn Candle Co. and Henri Bendel.

The retailer's shares gained 25 cents to close at $17.83 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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