(FORTUNE Magazine) – Sales per store dropped for the first time since the 1970s at his flagship Limited division last year. But every recession-weary retailer should have Leslie Wexner's problems. Led by its saucy Victoria's Secret catalogue and stores, his company's overall revenues climbed 13% to $5.2 billion and operating profits rose 12% to $698 million during the fiscal year that ended in February. Wexner, 53, should be equally happy about what he doesn't have. In the mid- 1980s he made two unsuccessful runs at department store chain Carter Hawley Hale, now in bankruptcy. Today, he says, ''we wouldn't take it for free.'' To fix his flagship, Wexner has brought over Victoria's Secret President Howard Gross. The two have trimmed weak suppliers and marked down slower- selling items. Though one new high-priced line stumbled recently, Wexner still thinks moving upscale is the way to go and expects results by year's end. Meanwhile, he and real estate developer Jack Kessler have something else to keep them busy. Two years ago they bought a 5,000-acre patchwork of farmland in sleepy New Albany, Ohio, about ten miles from downtown Columbus. Their vision: a passel of stately homes (average cost: $500,000), built alongside a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, including a 45,000-square-foot Georgian for Wexner. The houses began selling in June, and so far they're moving well. ''Les isn't a golfer,'' says Kessler, ''but he's a damn good marketing man.'' Among the features in Wexner's new house: a hydraulically operated dining room platform that raises fully set tables from a basement kitchen.