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How Victoria’s Secret Lost Its Grip | WSJ

How Victoria’s Secret Lost Its Grip | WSJ

(pleasant orchestral music) – [Narrator] This is the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The hour-long nationally-televised event has served as a showcase for the brand’s bras
and lingerie since 2001, but 2018 was the fashion
show’s last broadcast. The show had suffered several
years of declining ratings that coincided with the
drastic rise then fall of the stock price of Victoria’s Secret
parent company, L Brands. Here’s how the lingerie
retailer, Angels and all, rose to the top of women’s fashion and how its fall from grace has created an uncertain
future for the company. In 1982, L Brands owner Leslie Wexner acquired Victoria’s Secret, a small retailer consisting of six stores and a catalog for $1 million. Wexner developed many
successful retail businesses in the 1980s and ’90s. – He popularized the
specialty mall retailer, which had tightly-focused product lines and carefully-designed stores, and he took those stores
and rolled them out to malls across the country. That model really upended
the department store model. – [Narrator] In the mid 1990s, Victoria’s Secret’s
heavily-padded Miracle Bra, designed to create cleavage,
was vying for market share with its competitor, the WonderBra. – [Announcer] Only Victoria’s
Secret has the Miracle Bra. – Get a Miracle Bra. – [Narrator] Victoria’s
Secret doubled down on ads with provocative TV commercials and launched its first
fashion show in 1995. – Victoria’s Secret tried
to define what sexy was and what a sexy woman should look like, and you can really see by the ads that they were pushing a
very specific beauty ideal. That image was executed by L Brands Chief Marketing
Officer Edward Razek, who was put in charge of casting models for the fashion show. – [Narrator] Throughout the 2000s, Leslie Wexner sold many
of his apparel brands and focused more and more on
his lingerie and beauty lines. This included launching PINK in 2004, a Victoria’s Secret spinoff for teens. Unlike many other retailers, Victoria’s Secret continued to grow after the 2008 recession. The retailer opened more
stores and sales expanded, and L Brands stock price rose until 2016. – That’s when you really
started to see trouble for the company as consumer
tastes started to shift. – [Narrator] Athleisure
began to dominate fashion and growth began to slow in Victoria’s Secret’s bra business. This was driven in part by
consumers preferring bralettes, bras with no underwire or padding. – There was a shift in what
female consumers wanted from their underwear and what
they were willing to pay. Many younger women didn’t
wanna pay $60 anymore for a padded bra that
they saw on a supermodel. Many of them preferred stuff
like more authentic marketing, natural looks, and bras built for comfort. – [Narrator] In 2016, Leslie
Wexner assumed direct control of Victoria’s Secret. He eliminated swimwear,
stopped mailing out catalogs, and doubled down on sports bras. By 2018, L Brands share
price had fallen 50%, erasing about $14 billion
in investor’s wealth. Victoria’s Secret started
to appear out of touch with female consumers
around the same time. – A major stumbling block
for Victoria’s Secret was when Ed Razek told Vogue that he didn’t think transgender models should be cast in the fashion show. He was forced to apologize
for those remarks, and a lot of people called for
his resignation immediately. He actually stayed on a while after that and eventually resigned in 2019. Victoria’s Secret’s internal
culture and management has come under scrutiny as well. – Ed Razek, after he
left Victoria’s Secret, has faced allegations of
harassing models and employees, and Les Wexner has come under fire for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, who was his longtime money manager. – [Narrator] Leslie Wexner
has said that he cut ties with Epstein more than a decade ago after Epstein was charged
with child sex trafficking. Independent directors
on the L Brands Board responded to the sexual
harassment allegations in a statement that said
the company had instituted robust anti-harassment
policies in recent years and the company regrets any instance where we did not achieve this objective of a safe, welcoming,
and empowering workplace. Razek told the New York
Times that the allegations were, quote, “categorically untrue, “misconstrued, or taking out of context.” – Consumers have a very particular idea of what Victoria’s Secret is. It’ll be interesting
to see whether a brand that’s married to such a
particular type of marketing can transform itself into anything else. (pleasant orchestral music)

75 thoughts on “How Victoria’s Secret Lost Its Grip | WSJ”

  1. VS started apologizing for being who they were and who they were marketing towards. They caved to the pressure instead of sticking to their guns and refusing to market more on digital media. That's why they lost to Fenty Beauty.

  2. Nice concise analysis of the company. A great way to transform and modernize the company would be to utilize their brand recognition to open a niche marketplace platform. The product space is unique enough that consumers would likely prefer a specialized marketplace from a known brand over buying through Amazon. The first step would be to copy what we saw Nike do recently and pull all their products off of Amazon.

  3. Well, will certainly miss the music in those shows, from Bruno to Rita to Taylor, it was the music that kept the show alive

  4. The decline is due to:
    – Transgenders wanting to be females
    – Fat women embracing fatness
    – Feminists and Lesbians
    – Metoo Movement

  5. This company is doomed to fail. Totally out of touch with reality and everyday life. They use high end models to create out of touch high end “sexy” image of the brand, but they sell low end plastic horrid toxic lingerie junk in their stores to the masses who look nothing close to the models on the catwalk. This company should have been out of business long time ago! Marks and Spencer in Britain does a much better job with lingerie. They make lingerie for the average women, simple, elegant, reasonably priced and use ordinary women as models. No fancy, glamorous Hollywood hype, then sell horrid cheap junk!

  6. Tastes change. Central planning never can account for these changes quickly enough. Thankfully, in a free market, creative destruction can replace the old ideas with the new ones people prefer.

  7. VS was owned by a rabid conservative. They don’t make quality products, because making money is far more important. Ideology is, make money quick, don’t be concerned about long term, you can sell the shares and stocks before things get too bad….making them lots of money, and getting out before it crashes and burns! Conservatives also treat woman and all minorities badly. In today’s times, people take notice!

  8. Leslie Wexner is the man who funded and supported Jeffrey Epstien. Epstien went on to embezzle money from many other billionaires after entrapping them with underage prostitutes. Jeffrey kept a list of ALL the people he did business with, this includes Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, who BOTH tried to lie and deny ever knowing or meeting him.

  9. Basically, VS got derailed by communist instigators … 3:12 …. Well, if you are going to have transgender models on the runway, you expect your jewish, christian, and muslim customers to still buy gifts for their wives and girlfriends there ? – are you nuts ? And no woman desires a man to question her sexual identity, so associating VS with transgender, is like associating Coca Cola with "terrorism". Nobody with man-woman romantic sensibilities desires a product that is going to be associated with lgbtq culture. Let them start their own company. Once they shifted their marketing to ?? Dubious sexuality r us ? , their sales plumetted. Idiotus Stupendis.

  10. Good… VS going away help shifts the culture away from forcing women to sell sex to make a living and/or gain attention, shifting the focus back to substance and intellect.

  11. There's a lot of competition from YouTube and Instagram-pushed underwear companies, since 2016. It seems like there's a bazillion of these companies, now. Every Youtube and Insta-thot now seemingly has an underwear and bikini line. And they're usually cheaper.

    The only reason the show was cancelled is because Wexner has ties to Epstein, the whole #meToo thing targeted them, and he didn't want any limelight on him. Also, crazy SJW's really targeted Victoria's Secret for not including men in drag in their shows.

    The scheduling of the show was also suspect. Almost as if they wanted it to fail, in order to have an excuse for cancelling the next show.

    It was scheduled on a new network, was barely advertised, and was scheduled at the same time as Monday (or was it Thursday? I forget) night football. Everyone knows football will always demolish your ratings.

    Victoria's Secret is still a premier name, but they need to make some design and marketing adjustments. The show will be back in 2020 or 2021 at the latest.

  12. I know what happen… Pornhub!!! Guys no longer needs Victoria Secret…. No need to buy Victoria Secret for your wife or girlfriend when you have Pornhub…

  13. Un-noted: twenty years ago Victoria's Secret had close to 100% custom among women ni the African half of my family. It was a major upscale brand throughout east and Muslim Africa.
    Today I think that all those women, in North America and Africa, still have the same taste in lingerie. It's just that today they are buying it from Wexner's Chinese competitors — probably the same companies making the same stuff they manufacture for L Brands.

  14. I had thought this video was going to mention the rise of feminism and the social opposition to uniform standard of beauty. Victoria's Secret strengthens the stereotype that you have to have a certain body image to be pretty, and has long been criticized of objectifying women. I guess that is not the only reason, but I think the rise of feminism might be one of the reason's for Victoria's Secret's decline.

  15. Victoria's secret promoted anorexia with their skinny models in lingerie , I would say , skeletons in lingerie . lingerie looks better on women with natural curves

  16. Need more girl nextdoor like Miranda Kerr


  17. Same chicks supporting Fenty don't date short ,fat broke men yet want to go on about diversity..So where are all the fat male models. Wah wah diversity but no dude under 6 foot allowed on their Tinder 😂😂😂😂
    Still waiting for the Trans man women swoon over..bigots… I won't even mention the way Indian or Chinese dudes are seen by Western women..

    Rather VS goes to another platform than bend the knee putting Trans and plus size in their shows..It's like putting fat dudes in Mr Universe..

    And VS made alot of women millionaires .

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