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Things You Never Knew About Victoria’s Secret Pink
Victoria’s Secret Pink, as you may know, is the junior line for Victoria’s Secret. The Pink line is for adventurous and fun young women. While the Pink mascot dog is infamous, there’s a lot more to this branch of Victoria’s Secret… like how it almost didn’t happen! Click through the slideshow to read the 7 things you never knew about Victoria’s Secret Pink.
Victoria’s Secret Pink has its own spokesmodels, but the first ones were Alessandra Ambrosio and Miranda Kerr.
[Photo: Splash News]
Victoria’s Secret Pink almost didn’t happen. Initially, the CEO at the time (Sharen Jester Turney) of Victoria’s Secret didn’t like the idea of the brand because she didn’t get it. However, eventually she saw what it could do for their brand and clearly it worked.
14 Uplifting Facts About Victoria’s Secret
You’ve been bombarded by their ads, DVR’ed the annual fashion show (but just so you could watch Taylor!), and— whether for yourself or someone else—have probably procured a pair of neon panties there. But how much do you really know about the lingerie giant?
1. ITS FOUNDER WANTED TO MAKE THE LINGERIE-BUYING EXPERIENCE LESS … CREEPY.
Founder Roy Raymond was inspired to open up his own shop after an awkward department store experience. “When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife, I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns,” he explained. “I always had the feeling the department-store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder.” The very first Victoria’s Secret, devoted solely to selling lingerie in a more upscale (and male-friendly) atmosphere, opened in Palo Alto in 1977.
2. THERE WAS NO “VICTORIA.”
Raymond picked the moniker because he felt it complemented the store’s chic, English-inspired interior, “replete with dark wood, oriental rugs, and silk drapery,” Slate’s Naomi Barr writes. “Outwardly refined, Victoria’s ‘secrets’ were hidden beneath.” Raymond and his wife, Gaye, would go on to open five more stores and launch a successful mail-order catalogue.
3. IT HAD A FAKE HEADQUARTERS.
In keeping with its upscale, British-influenced image, the company used to list its address on catalogues as “no. 10 Margaret Street, London”—even though the company was actually headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
4. ITS CURRENT OWNER IS A BUSINESS LEGEND.
The chain was purchased for $1 million in 1982 by Leslie “Les” Wexner. A self-made, media-shy midwesterner, Wexner revolutionized the retail industry when he founded The Limited on the premise that stores built around just a couple of small-ticket items—in this case, basic shirts and pants—could make money. (Lots of it.) Wexner has since sold The Limited (and its little sister spinoff, Express), but his L Brands—the parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, among others—raked in $11.45 billion last year. Wexner himself is worth more than $7 billion, making him the richest person in Ohio. (Sorry LeBron.)
5. L BRANDS MAY HAVE INFLUENCED APPLE.
One admirer of Wexner’s: Steve Jobs, who (according to Wexner, anyway) credited the Ohio native with inventing specialty retail.
6. IT DOMINATES THE MARKET …
No other lingerie brand even comes close to its success: Victoria’s Secret is responsible for 40 percent of all intimate apparel sales, according to Business Insider, and operates 1060 stores in the U.S. alone.
7. … AND MAKES WAVES OVERSEAS.
Its recent expansion into the Middle East (via franchisees) hasn’t been without controversy. Earlier this year, Qatari officials banned the brand’s “Strawberries and Champagne” fragrance from a VS there, arguing that the reference to bubbly violated the “customs, traditions, and religious values” of the country.
8. SHOPLIFTERS LOVE IT.
VS stores are a frequent target of both petty thieves and large-scale shoplifting rings. From 2007 to 2014, shoplifters carried away nearly $20,000 worth of merchandise from a Fairfield, Conn. store; last fall, one Florida-based “entrepreneur” made $53,000 selling stolen Victoria’s Secret underwear. (In a 2007 story in The New York Times, Lieutenant Christine Petersen of the Jersey City PD remarked that she wasn’t surprised people were able to seize so much product: “Have you looked at Victoria’s Secret panties? There’s not much there.”)
9. ITS FANS CAN BECOME A LITTLE TOO INVESTED.
The company recently had to “divorce” one overly-enthusiastic devotee. Wisconsin resident Amy Thompson was served legal papers banning her from shopping at any Victoria’s Secret location after she allegedly made over $7000 in returns, attempted to use fraudulent coupons, resold almost $200,000 worth of merchandise, and threatened to “batter” a store clerk. (Thompson, for her part, denies the allegations and has filed a complaint with her state’s consumer protection agency.)
10. IT CHARGES MORE FOR BIGGER SIZES.
Its most recent scandal has nothing to do with tone-deaf ad campaigns or retouched photos. This summer, the company came under fire after one fashion editor noticed that shoppers with larger cup sizes pay up to $4 more for their bras than women who fit into sizes A-D.
11. IT’S A CAREER-MAKER.
Throughout the years, the company has helped a number of young models spread their wings (so to speak). In 2014, all but five of the 21 catwalkers included on Forbes’ list of richest models had at one point mugged for VS ads or strutted in the fashion show.
12. THERE ARE VICTORIA’S SECRET ANGELS FROM EVERY CONTINENT …
13. ITS FASHION SHOW IS A GLOBAL PHENOMENON.
The brand’s annual runway show, which debuted in 1995, now serves as the fashion world’s Super Bowl. Viewers tune in from more than 180 countries and territories around the world, and the spectacle is such a guaranteed ratings boon that CBS reportedly pays the company for the rights to air the oh-so-heavenly event.
14. THE BRAND TAKES BEDAZZLING TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL.
The star of every VS Fashion Show: the fantasy bra. At last year’s event, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio wore matching pieces of lingerie worth $2 million—each. But that’s nothing compared to the bra Gisele Bundchen modeled in 2000. That year’s satin “Red Hot Fantasy Bra” was encrusted with more than 1300 diamonds and rubies. Its $15 million price tag was enough to secure its place in Guinness World Records history as the most expensive piece of lingerie ever created.
Victoria’s Secret Knows It Has A Problem, But Does It Have Time To Fix It?
A Victoria’s Secret store at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.KONRAD FIEDLER/BLOOMBERG
Victoria’s Secret knows it has lost its sexy, and it is trying to reclaim it, but knowing there’s a problem and actually fixing it are two different things.
Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands , which also owns Bath & Body Works, saw its shares slump as much as 10% Thursday afternoon—a 75% plunge from their record high in late 2015—as Victoria’s Secret, the No. 1 U.S. lingerie label, extended a string of sales declines since 2016. The chain posted a 3% drop in fiscal fourth-quarter comparable sales, including a 7% decline at its physical stores. The unit’s merchandise margin narrowed “significantly” after the company had to slash prices and deepen promotions to clear unsold merchandise inventory.
In sharp contrast, its sister chain Bath & Body Works posted a comparable sales gain of 12% in the quarter that ended Feb. 2 and saw its operating income surpass $1 billion for the first time last year. Victoria’s Secret, once the company’s profit crown jewel, saw its operating income slide 45% to $512 million for the year. L Brands’ profit outlook for the new year also fell short.Today In: Retail
The company is “facing challenges,” UBS analyst Jay Sole said in a report. The news “isn’t likely to make people believe the company is any closer to solving them.”
As part of its bid to turn around Victoria’s Secret, L Brands has shuttered its upscale Henri Bendel chain, has announced the sale of its Canadian lingerie chain La Senza and is cutting its regular dividend by half to free up cash. The company has named an executive to revamp the Pink brand, targeting a college-age crowd, and the Victoria’s Secret lingerie label is now being led by former Club Monaco president and CEO John Mehas, who joined the company recently.
Victoria’s Secret is also planning to bring back some swim assortment online in March after admitting it made a mistake in exiting the category, and L Brands said it’s closing an estimated 53 Victoria’s Secret stores this year, cutting its store square footage by 3% in North America. That will follow another 30 store closings in 2018, double the historical annual average of 15 closings for the brand. As of Feb. 2, Victoria’s Secret had nearly 1,200 stores in North America.
“We are taking a fresh hard look at everything in the business,” CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said on a conference call Thursday morning, adding that that even includes looking at the brand’s famous Fashion Show. “Everything is on the table for review and change. The dominant focus is understanding the customer and making significant improvement to the merchandise assortment.”
However, as much as the company is aware of its problems, time may not be on its side. L Brands said the newly appointed Pink and Victoria’s Secret executives won’t have an impact on product assortments until late in the year. Meanwhile, some on Wall Street have faulted the retailer for not looking to close even more Victoria’s Secret stores this year. The company also didn’t really address “evolving the brand message,” a top investor focus, UBS’s Sole said.
And that may be costly for Victoria’s Secret amid growing signs that the glammed-up look of its Angels—at the center of its brand pitch—is losing relevance to a growing crop of shoppers seeking to express themselves just the way they are while favoring brands they see as more authentic. For instance, Victoria’s Secret’s mall rival Aerie, owned by American Eagle Outfitters and known for its #AerieReal tagline and for featuring real customers in natural looks, doubled its U.S. “underwear” market share in the five years through 2018 to 3.2%, catapulting its share of the market to No. 6, from No. 9, according to Euromonitor data.
Victoria’s Secret, while still No. 1, saw its share of the market during the same period plunge to 24%, from 32%. That’s a glaring loss considering the U.S. lingerie market jumped 21% over that time to $13 billion, Euromonitor data shows.
And as Victoria’s Secret attempts a turnaround, more formidable and better-resourced competitors are moving fast. Target just this week said it’s introducing three new “size inclusive” lingerie labels to seize a bigger share of the market. ThirdLove, backed by a former Victoria’s Secret executive, and Walmart-owned Bare Necessities are just two examples of the online brands that are eager to steal some of Victoria’s Secret’s thunder. These brands all share a similar pitch: They have extended size ranges for all body types.
Victoria’s Secret may still have the largest piece on the market, but that’s no longer enough to keep its once-loyal customers.