Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret to close over 50 outlets after bad holiday sales

'Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history,’ the group said.

Victoria's Secret Source: Bloomberg

The parent company of Victoria’s Secret is pulling itself up by the bootstraps after it met with bad sales during the holiday season, through the closing down of more than 50 underperforming outlets in North America.

The lingerie chain’s owner L Brands on Wednesday said it would be closing down around 53 Victoria’s Secrets in North America in 2019, dropping its square footage in the country by roughly 3%. The closure in the amount of stores is historically more than three times compared to the 15 shops it shuts annually on average.

‘Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history,’ the group said in the announcement.

The group operates more than 950 Victoria’s Secret stores in the US.

L Brands’ stock has fallen around 44% from a year ago, as it struggles to boost sales for its lingerie chain in the last few years.

Fast losing relevance to shoppers who seek inclusivity, self-expression

The group has been taking the heat over the years for not moving with the times to be more inclusive of women of different backgrounds, shapes, and sizes. Some customers have deviated from its bras and underwear in favour over “size-inclusive” brands.

Victoria’s Secret reported a 3% decline in comparable sales, led by a 7% fall from in-store sales, in the holiday quarter. The lingerie chain’s PINK brand posted a low-double-digit same store sales slide in the fourth quarter while its lingerie sales were flat.

To add it on, Victoria’s Secret has a new competitor, Target, who is on the move to take up a portion of the lingerie and sleepwear industry.

In an announcement earlier this week, Target said it will launch three new lines of lingerie and sleepwear to cater to its customer’s demands. The retailer said around 40% of its shoppers are looking for intimates and sleepwear in its stores and online.

Other competitors include pop star Rihanna’s lingerie firm Savage X Fenty, American Eagle Outfitters' Aerie, and fast-growing intimates’ seller ThirdLove.


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