Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD) reported earnings on Nov. 14. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Oct. 27 (Q3), Limited Brands met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue dropped and GAAP earnings per share shrank significantly.

Gross margins grew, operating margins expanded, net margins contracted.

Revenue details
Limited Brands tallied revenue of $2.05 billion. The 19 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ looked for a top line of $2.05 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 5.7% lower than the prior-year quarter's $2.17 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.26. The 21 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.24 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.25 for Q3 were 19% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.31 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 40.2%, 410 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 9.1%, 50 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 3.6%, 70 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $3.79 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.76.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $10.38 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.90.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 567 members out of 668 rating the stock outperform, and 101 members rating it underperform. Among 224 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 205 give Limited Brands a green thumbs-up, and 19 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Limited Brands is outperform, with an average price target of $52.70.

If you're invested in retailers like Limited Brands, you should check out the concept that is The Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. Its founder wrote the book on big box retailing, and it's growing in increasingly important international markets. Click here for instant access to this free report.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.