A recession silver lining: cheap(er) skivvies

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How's this for support you can afford? This week, both Victoria's Secret and Frederick's of Hollywood announced plans to roll out less-expensive versions of their signature unmentionables in response to curtailed consumer spending.

Frederick's, which has seen a 23% drop in sales, hired a former Walmart product development executive to create a line of clothes, pajamas and underwear that would be sold in big discount chains like Kohl's, Target and Walmart. According to this article, the new offerings will be tamer than the see-through, peekaboo and otherwise skimpy lingerie for which the brand is known.

It's a high-stakes gamble; Frederick's has already gone through one bankruptcy in its 60-plus year history, and execs quoted in the article say the company has to drum up additional revenue or cut back sharply on operations. The company is hoping to have the as-yet-unnamed new line ready to go by next year's back-to-school shopping season.

For its part, Victoria's Secret parent company Limited Brands Inc. is responding to a 27% drop in profits by creating a lower-priced line of its own. Unlike Frederick's, Vicky's bargain-priced undies will be sold in its own stores. According to this article, bras in the new "everyday" collection will be around $30, still pricey for a brassiere but better than the $45-ish many of its popular styles go for.

Victoria's Secret in-house Pink brand, marketed to younger shoppers, will also get in on the action, with a new bra that will start out at a promotional price of two for $32. Limited Brands says it will be able to afford to offer its lower-priced wares by manufacturing them more cost-effectively and by marketing the heck out of its pricier products.
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