Victoria's Secret is closing dozens of stores

  • Victoria's Secret is closing 53 stores in North America this year.
  • On Wednesday, its parent company L Brands reported fourth-quarter earnings, same-store sales at Victoria's Secret were down 3%.
  • The brand has struggled in recent years – sales have slipped, and its provocative ads are being criticized by some as being tone-deaf in the era of #MeToo. 

Victoria's Secret is closing dozens of stores this year.

The US lingerie giant announced Wednesday in a fourth-quarter earnings commentary that it would be closing as many as 53 stores this year, citing a "decline in performance," as the reason for this. Victoria’s Secret square footage in North America is projected to decline by about 3%, it said.

Its parent company L Brands reported fourth-quarter earnings after market close on Wednesday. Same-store sales at the Victoria's Secret brand were down 3% during the quarter and overall in 2018. 

The brand has struggled in recent years and increasingly been accused olosing relevance among shoppers as its oversexualized ads and racy runway shows have failed to resonate in the era of #MeToo.

This came to a head in November, after a Vogue interview with Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands, went viral online. Razek told the interviewer that he didn't think the company's annual fashion show should feature "transsexuals" because the show is a "fantasy."

"It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is," he said in the interview.

His comments sparked an outcry online, which later led to him issuing a formal apology.

The annual fashion show's ratings also took a hit. According to ABC, the network that ran the show, 3.3 million people tuned in to watch the fashion show when it aired on December 2, down from 5 million viewers in 2017 and 6.7 million in 2016, when it previously aired on CBS.

Meanwhile, more body-positive brands such as American Eagle's Aerie and ThirdLove (which is becoming increasingly critical of Victoria's Secret) have gained market share.

American Eagle reported a 32% increase in same-store sales at Aerie in the third quarter. This marked its 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit positive growth. Group CEO Jay Schottenstein described this as one of the company's best results ever during a call with investors after the earnings release.

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