4 Not-So-Secret Reasons Why Victoria’s Secret Is Failing

It wasn’t a merry Christmas nor a Happy New Year for the once legendary lingerie brand.

Victoria’s Secret reportedly plans to shut down a whopping 53 stores. It’s parent company, L Brands Inc. made the decision following dipping sales records in 2018. They’d normally close an average of 15 stores a year. This time, it’s more than three times the average. Where did America’s most coveted lingerie brand go so wrong?

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1. Victoria’s Secret failed to keep up with current lingerie trends

The brand failed to adapt to the ever-changing trends, even in the lingerie world. Women have delightfully deserted the brand for lingerie companies and startups that cater to their needs – like customised bras for different body types as we celebrate diversity all over the world. Although consumer marketing trends have changed to include body positivity and inclusive messages, Victoria’s Secret stubbornly stuck to it’s guns of push-up bras, angel wings us commoners would never wear, and celebrity models. They’ve lost millions of customers to up-and-coming brands like Aerie and Rihanna’s brainchild Savage x Fenty. Side note: Rihanna picked the best time to launch!

2. Lack of diversity and inclusivity in their lineup

More women started to boycott the brand following a disconcerting interview with Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria’s Secret. He stated that the brand attempted a show featuring plus-sized women in 2000. “No one had any interest in it, still don’t,” he explained decidedly. The interview was done in 2018 and the fashion industry has undergone many changes since then.

One thing all women can collectively agree on is that none of the Victoria’s Secret angels are legitimately plus-sized. In the same interview, Razek also scoffed at the idea of including transwomen in the fashion show. Okay Razek, I’d hate to burst your bubble, but women will support any brand that supports them. Instead, Victoria’s Secret portrays the image of physically superior women – granted, they’re models and they’ve worked hard for it. Other brands have stepped up to include plus-sized and transwomen in their model lineup, including retail giants like Target and Walmart.

Nearly half the Victoria’s Secret angels are non-white women, but the brand didn’t include an Asian model until they cast Liu Wen in 2009. It was a smart move, but it wasn’t good enough, especially not for women of this era. Women – a.k.a. the buyers of lingerie – wanted something that they could relate to. They want the experience of being sexy, being feminine and being featured without looking up to unrealistic beauty standards.

3. Lowest fashion show viewership ever in 2018

In 2018, the number of views for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show diminished to a mere 3.3 million compared to 5 million in 2017. It’s lowest number ever. It doesn’t help that they show the same thing every year – rocking the runway in their own bubble of dazzling models and performances. It worked for a time, but people get tired of repetition.

4. A very unmerry Christmas

As shares at L Brands Inc. dipped by 38% in 2018, Victoria’s Secret launched the Christmas promos with massive sales, a marketing method that is known to cut profit margins. The controversial remarks and statements by Ed Razek certainly didn’t help the weak sales from the holiday season. L Brands Inc. released a statement saying “Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history.” In layman terms, it means they’re closing down quite a number of stores, 53 in North America alone, and maybe more in other parts of the world

Note to VS – women wear lingerie for comfort. Sexiness is secondary and for special occasions. We probably have one or two especially sexy pairs but for the rest of the year, we wear comfortable lingerie designed to please us.

Is it time to say goodbye to Victoria’s Secret? We’ll see. Let’s hope they pull their wings up and keep up with the trends if they want to continue their lingerie legacy.