Victoria's Secret has long been one of the fashion superstars. The American-American lingerie brand surpassed with top models such as Claudia Schiffer, Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell, the expensive underwear was a bestseller. Now the golden times seem over.
The lingerie label, which always sends the international elite of the top models on the catwalk during its pompous fashion shows, no longer meets the guts of many customers.
Does the company stand in the way with its "Sex Sells & # 39; marketing campaign, which focuses on impeccable, lightly dressed women's bodies in times of busy shameless debates and the MeToo movement itself? At least the numbers do not look good. Although the US economy is booming and consumer spending is booming, Victoria's Secret sales continued to decline in the second quarter.
A further complicating factor was the fact that the second brand "Pink", which was intended for younger female buyers and was actually regarded as a carrier of hope until now, also produced weak results. The parent company L Brands responded with a profit warning, which meant that the share lost 11% on Thursday alone. The price has already been halved in the course of the year.
Only in the modeling world the measure of all things
Victoria's Secret has struggled for some time with fierce competition and the so-called athleisure trend towards leaner, more comfortable and sportier clothing. But perhaps the sexy and expensive lingerie is not only fashion, but also the spirit of the times.
In the glamor world of models, for whom the contract marks a career highlight as Victoria's Secret Angel, the label can remain the benchmark for all things. But the social vision of ideals of beauty and the industry behind it has changed.
According to a study by market research firm YouGov, Victoria's secret has lost a lot of attention from women between the ages of 18 and 49 years. The Buzz score, designed to show how popular a brand is, has dropped from 31 to 23 points in the last two years. The label became entangled in the MeToo moment, which became clear during the Victoria & # 39; s Secrets fashion show, says Paul Hiebert of YouGov. The latest fashion show had taken place shortly after the allegations of abuse against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – the ratings had dropped by 30 percent.
Competition stands in the same niche market
Robert Passikoff, founder and head of the analysis company BrandKeys, is against the theory. "I believe it would be wrong to make a connection with the MeToo movement," he told the American financial newspaper Forbes.
In fact, Victoria's Secret has been deteriorating for a few years and there are quite a few competitors doing well in the same niche market. The problem is the products and more general trends in the industry, such as the migration from customers to the internet.
The critique of sexism and accusations of the glorification of an unhealthy ideal of beauty has been around much longer than the MeToo movement. In 2014, for example, Victoria's Secret got the guise of a marketing campaign with the Perfect Body & # 39 ;, a pair of high underwear models whose waist was unnaturally thin for many. A petition that accused the label of irresponsible marketing and harmful influence on young women received 33,000 signatures.
One thing is certain: the business is bad. Even with discounts and extensive special sales promotions, sales in the summer could not be properly promoted, stocks are growing faster than sales. Product quality can also be a problem – according to the YouGov survey, customer satisfaction has dropped significantly since 2016.
During a conference call, the management announced on Thursday that it would close 20 stores in North America this year. Martin Waters, CEO of L-Brands, avoided questions about the marketing message. He simply said: "With the brand, we are not exactly where I think we should be."
(AWP / TDR)