If you’re a fan of Victoria’s Secret, we have some bad news. L Brands, the parent company of the lingerie brand, announced this week that it will be closing 53 of over 1,000 Victoria’s Secret stores in North America. The corporation has yet to reveal the exact locations that will be closed.
The company blamed declining sales for the decision to shut down about 4 percent of its Victoria’s Secret retail locations. Interestingly, one of the company’s other brands, Bath & Body Works, actually saw an increasing amount of sales during the same period.
Victoria’s Secret has faced competition from brands like Aerie, ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie brand in recent years. Target will also reportedly enter the crowded lingerie market soon with three new size-inclusive private-label lingerie and sleepwear lines.
Like a lot of other mall staples, Victoria’s Secret has probably also received less foot traffic to their retail locations. In recent years, more people have turned to online shopping.
Negative PR can’t have helped much either. While other lingerie brands have embraced inclusivity and diversity in their marketing campaigns, Victoria’s Secret’s Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek caused controversy in 2018 when he gave an interview to Vogue Magazine stating, among other things, that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show shouldn’t include “transsexuals” because the show is a “fantasy.”
Razek also dismissed the idea of using plus-size models, stating: “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
Razek later issued an apology for his comments about trans women, but not about plus-size models. As expected, the comments caused an uproar. Not coincidentally, the ratings for the annual fashion show dropped by about 30 percent.
In the #MeToo era, some have also called out the brand for blanketing its stores and commercials with overly sexualized images.
It’s likely that all of these factors may have contributed to the brand’s weak holiday 2018 sales numbers and the company’s decision to close the stores.