Victoria’s Secret was getting tired, says CEO Lex Wexner

The founder and CEO of Victoria’s Secret has opened up about the major structural changes the brand has undergone this year, indicating his regret for not taking control of the company sooner.

Speaking at the L Brands Investor Meeting, Lex Wexner said that for several years he was unhappy with the performance of Victoria’s Secret.

“I thought the brand had stalled out in beauty and lingerie. And we had to make changes, but in hindsight, the changes that we made, I wish we had made them two years ago, or three. In hindsight, there was ample opportunity to change things dramatically,” he explained.

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Last April, Wexner announced that he would reorganise Victoria’s Secret into three business units: Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, PINK and Victoria’s Secret Beauty, in a move to focus the business on its strongest categories and streamline the business.

The retailer has since scrapped its swimwear business and added a new activewear line, Victoria’s Sport.

It has also eliminated its iconic catalogue and moved away from coupons, instead using aggressive markdowns to attract customers to items like sports bras and bralettes.

Commenting on how he expects Victoria’s Secret to perform over Christmas, Wexner said: “We’re beginning to see signs of a real change in momentum. Transaction size, numbers of transactions, comps in core categories.

“It’s tough to overcome all the stuff that we were selling that was brand-wrong and that was promoted in silly ways, but the arrows are pointing in a much better direction and they’re positive,” he added.

“How retail will be, my opinion is that I don’t know. There’re so many unpredictable things, I think we’re cautious about external things but internally things look good. I think there have been enormous headwinds against most of retail since this summer.”

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2 Comments

  1. RM said:

    If there are “three business units: Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, PINK and Victoria’s Secret Beauty” where does that leave “Sport”? Or is sport same as Pink?
    I think there is room for them to steal from dept stores.. to finally make pretty, adult womens lingerie (lingerie, not dorm wear) that is not a look-a-like of Fredericks.
    They have the 1) Teens, 2) fake boob crowd (incl the “show everything 24/7 ’cause Daddy paid for them), 3) buy lingerie ’cause your heading to a date and V’sS is on every corner and 4) supermodels who strut the clothes for $$$ but ACTUALLY wear their lingerie lines not VsS.

    • Sarah ClarkeSarah Clarke said:

      Hi, I believe VS decided on the three business units before adding Victoria Sport later in the year, after scrapping swimwear. Many thanks, LI.

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