Victoria’s Secret continues to struggle to stop the bleeding with news it will close 53 stores in 2019, following the closure of 30 stores in 2018. The company pointed out that it typically closes an average of 15 stores per year, but at the same time also opens stores. Currently there are 957 Victoria’s Secret stores and 141 Pink Stores in the United States with additional stores globally.
Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands released the statement as part of its fourth-quarter earnings announcement on Wednesday (February 27, 2019). “Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history,” said the company, who added that in the coming year it will place a bigger emphasis on growing Bath and Body Works.
Comparable sales at Victoria’s Secret during the holiday period were down three percent overall and were down seven percent in-store. Comparable Pink sales were even worse, reported by the company as down low-double digits during the fourth quarter. At the same time, promotional levels at the chain were higher versus last year.
The company said it’s placed a big emphasis on improving merchandise, a change that would begin to show up in stores during the second-half of 2019.
Victoria’s Secret came under fire in November 2018 when L Brands head of marketing, Ed Razek, conducted an interview in which he dismissed the idea casting either trans women or plus-sized models as off brand. While the interview caused an uproar, the bigger issue for the chain has been slow adoption of new lingerie trends, increased competition and a a shift to online shopping that’s cut into store visits.