Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show canceled from television

May 10, 2019

by Daphne Sorenson

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Models at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York City (Photo by Jeff Neira/ABC)

The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been canceled—at least on television. According to the New York Times, L Brands (the company that owns Victoria’s Secret) announced in an internal memo on May 10, 2019, that the famous lingerie show featuring numerous supermodels will no longer be airing on television.

L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner said in the memo that the company had been “taking a fresh look at every aspect of our business” in the past few months, and noted that Victoria’s Secret  “must evolve and change to grow … With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.” He said the company would develop “a new kind of event” for Victoria’s Secret but did not elaborate on any further details.

It’s the latest blow to Victoria’s Secret, which has been experiencing declining sales and store closures.

TV ratings for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show have also been on a rapid decline. The show, which debuted in 1995, wasn’t televised until 2001, when it got 12.4 million U.S. viewers on ABC. It remains the highest-rated Victoria’s Secret show for a single TV network, according to Nielsen. CBS televised the show in 2002, 2003 and from 2005 to 2017. During those years, the ratings ranged from 10.5 million U.S. viewers (in 2002) to 5 million U.S. viewers (in 2017). ABC picked up the show in 2018, when it had 3.3 million U.S viewers.

It’s likely that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show will continue and will have an online platform where people can watch the show.

Victoria’s Secret business crisis: store shutdowns, PINK brand in decline

April 1, 2019

by Daphne Sorenson

Models at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show in New York City (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC)

Victoria’s Secret is experiencing a very public meltdown. The world’s most famous lingerie brand is closing up to 53 stores in North America in 2019, due to a decline in sales. According to Business Insider, most of the stores are located in shopping malls, which have been experiencing their own major financial problems in recent years. Although Victoria’s Secret has swimwear and sportswear, the company’s core business is still lingerie. In November 2018, Victoria’s Secret Lingerie appointed John Mehas its CEO. He replaced Jan Singer, who was with the company for two years.

Meanwhile, PINK—the Victoria’s Secret brand targeted to millennials—has become a big flop. Jefferies analyst Randal Konik told investors that sales for PINK in fell in the “low double digits” for the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Business Insider. Konik gave investors this bleak view of PINK after he attended a PINK consumer event at New Jersey’s Rutgers University on March 29, 2019:  “Our visit to Rutgers University on 3/29 shows the PINK brand without fans and rudderless. We believe PINK sales may be cut in half or more within the next 12-24 months.”

It’s the latest financial problem for Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, which already experienced the shutdown of its Henri Bendel business in January 2019.

So why has Victoria’s Secret been losing so much business? In December 2018, Business Insider reported that it’s a combination of reasons, such as complaints about bad customer service, the declining quality of the clothes and the company’s alienating image that women are “sexy” only if they look like the thin women who are hired to be Victoria’s Secret models. It didn’t help that L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek told Vogue in 2018 that there were no plans for Victoria Secret to have plus-sized on transgender models, and that Victoria’s Secret was not going to add plus-sizes because L Brands already has retail brand Lane Bryant, whose specialty is plus-sized women’s clothing. (What he didn’t mention in the interview is that Lane Bryant is also experiencing financial difficulties and store closures.)

Simply put: In an era where consumers are demanding more inclusive representation, Victoria’s Secret has been increasingly perceived as old-fashioned, out-of-touch and over-priced.

TV ratings for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show have also been on a rapid decline. The show, which debuted in 1995, wasn’t televised until 2001, when it got 12.4 million U.S. viewers on ABC. It remains the highest-rated Victoria’s Secret show for a single TV network, according to Nielsen. CBS televised the show in 2002, 2003 and from 2005 to 2017. During those years, the ratings ranged from 10.5 million U.S. viewers (in 2002) to 5 million U.S. viewers (in 2017). ABC picked up the show in 2018, when it had 3.3 million U.S viewers.

Here’s a partial list of the Victoria’s Secret stores that are confirmed to close in 2019, according to Business Insider:

  • Astoria, New York: 31-35 Steinway Street
  • Clay, New York: Great Northern Mall, 4155 NY-31
  • Washington, DC: 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Reston, Virginia: Reston Town Center, 11929 Market, Suite 50
  • Richmond, Virginia: Stony Point Fashion Park, 9200 Stony Point Parkway
  • Glen Allen, Virginia: Virginia Center Commons, 10101 Brook Road
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Myrtle Beach Mall, 10177 N. Kings Highway
  • Knoxville, Tennessee: West Town Mall, 7600 Kingston Pike
  • Jacksonville, Florida: Regency Square Mall, 9501 Arlington Expressway
  • Cedar Falls, Iowa: College Square Mall, 1 College Square Mall
  • Akron, Ohio: Chapel Hill Mall, 2000 Brittain Road
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: Tri-County Mall, 11700 Princeton Pike
  • Cleveland, Ohio: Tower City Center, 230 W. Huron Road
  • Elyria, Ohio: Midway Mall, 3433 Midway Mall

Henri Bendel going out of business by January 2019

September 14, 2018

by Yvette Thomas

L Brands Inc.—the parent company of luxury retailer Henri Bendel and lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret and beauty retailer Bath & Body Works—has announced that it is permanently shuttering Henri Bendel by January 2019. All 23 Henri Bendel stores, as well as Henri Bendel’s online business, will be closed. Employees have been given a choice to interview for other L Brands jobs or accept severance pay. Henri Bendel had been in business since 1895. The flagship Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in New York City opened in 1913.

According to Marketwatch, L Brands stock rose 5.58% after it was announced that Henri Bendel was going out of business. Marketwatch also reports: “Henri Bendel’s 2018 revenue to total $85 million and its operating losses to total $45 million. L Brands stock is down more than 52% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.03% is up 8.6% for the period.”

L Brands reported $12.6 billion in revenue for 2017, so Henri Bendel’s shuttering represents a small fraction of the L Brands’ business. However, Victoria’s Secret has reportedly been struggling and is on industry watch lists as a retailer that could be in big trouble by the year 2020.

Henri Bendel is one of many fashion retailers that have been experiencing massive closures in 2018.