Victoria’s Secret will close 53 stores this year as the lingerie chain continues to lose ground to the competition, which includes startups and large retailers.
A disappointing holiday showing preceded the planned cutbacks, with sales at stores open at least a year falling 7 percent during the quarter, parent company L Brands said late Wednesday.
“Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history,” L Brands said in the earnings commentary.
Shares of L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, closed Thursday’s session down 4.6 percent, after falling as much as 8.9 percent during the day.
Victoria’s Secret has struggled as competitors including Rihanna’s company Savage X Fenty appeared on the lingerie scene. Retailing giant Target is also throwing its hat into the lingerie mix, saying this week it would launch three private-label under and sleepwear brands.
Critics contend Victoria’s Secret is particularly out of touch in the current #MeToo climate.
L Brands’ chief market officer, Ed Razek, sparked a backlash late last year when he rejected the idea of using plus-size or transgender models, a position he later apologized for.
“To eliminate certain categories from your marketing is just completely crazy to me,” wrote Heidi Zak, co-CEO of the lingerie company ThirdLove, which took out a newspaper ad
L Brands tapped John Mehas to lead a turnaround of Victoria’s Secret in late November, making the former president of luxury brand Tory Burch the third person to lead the company since 2016.