Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret
TypeFirst-tier subsidiary
FoundedJune 12, 1977 (1977-06-12)
Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA, United States[1]
FounderRoy Raymond
Gaye Raymond [2]
Headquarters3 Limited Parkway, ,
Number of locations
1,070 (2020)
775 (by 2021)
Areas served
Primarily US and Canada
Key people
Stuart Burgdoerfer, Interim CEO (2020)
ProductsUnderwear, lingerie, beauty products (2020)
ParentL Brands
DivisionsPink (Victoria's Secret)
Victoria's Secret Beauty
Victoria's Secret Lingerie

Victoria's Secret is an American lingerie, clothing, and beauty retailer known for high visibility marketing and branding, starting with a popular catalog and followed by an annual fashion show with supermodels dubbed Angels. As the largest retailer of lingerie in the United States, the brand has struggled since 2016 due to shifting consumer preferences and ongoing controversy surrounding corporate leadership's business practices.

Founded in 1977 by Roy and Gaye Raymond,[3][4] the company's five lingerie stores were sold to Leslie Wexner in 1982.[5] Wexner rapidly expanded into American shopping malls, growing the company into 350 stores nationally with sales of $1 billion by the early 1990s when Victoria's Secret became the largest lingerie retailer in the United States.[6]

From 1995 through 2018, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was an essential part of the brand's image featuring an annual runway spectacle of models promoted by the company as fantasy Angels.[6] The 1990s saw the company's further expansion throughout shopping malls along with the introduction of the miracle bra, the new brand Body by Victoria, and the development of a line of fragrances and cosmetics. In 2002 Victoria's Secret announced the launch of PINK, a brand that was aimed to appeal to teenagers.[7][8] Starting in 2008, Victoria's Secret expanded internationally, with retail outlets within international airports, franchises in major cities overseas, and in company-owned stores throughout Canada and the UK.[9]

By 2016, Victoria's Secret market share began to decline, increasingly giving way to a growing consumer preference for athleisure.[10] The company canceled the circulation of their famous catalog in 2016. The brand struggled to maintain its market position following ongoing criticism and controversy over the unsavory behavior and business practices of corporate leadership under Wexner and Ed Razek.[11][12][13] As of May 2020, with over 1,070 stores, Victoria's Secret remained the largest lingerie retailer in the United States.[10][6][14] Parent company L Brands announced the planned closure of 250 Victoria's Secret and Pink stores in 2020, a nearly 25 percent reduction of all retail locations, following the COVID-19 pandemic.[14] L Brands shareholders filed a complaint with a Delaware court in January 2021, stating that former chair Les Wexner, among others, created an "entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment", which breaching his fiduciary duty to the company, and causing the brand to be devalued.

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Blakeslee2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference :13 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference NewYorkTimes1986December27BishopKatherine was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Mzezewa, Tariro (November 16, 2018). "Victoria's Secret? In 2018, Fewer Women Want to Hear It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference NewYorkTimes1993September02 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ a b c Hanbury, Mary (May 21, 2020). "The rise and fall of Victoria's Secret, America's biggest lingerie retailer". Business Insider. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  7. ^ Merrick, Amy (February 29, 2008). "Apparently, You Can Be Too Sexy". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Stevenson, Seth (June 9, 2020). "Victoria's Secret Has Only Itself to Blame". Slate Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  9. ^ Eaton, Dan (October 17, 2012). "Wexner wants Victoria's Secret accessory stores as 'ubiquitous as Starbucks'". Columbus Business First. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Cheng, Andria (February 28, 2019). "Victoria's Secret Knows It Has A Problem, But Does It Have Time To Fix It?". Forbes. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Goldberg, Carey (January 3, 2020). "Victoria's Secret Models Got Thinner Over 23 Years Of Fashion Show, Study Finds". WBUR. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  12. ^ Silver-Greenberg, Jessica; Rosman, Katherine; Maheshwari, Sapna; Stewart, James B. (February 1, 2020). "'Angels' in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria's Secret". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Koul, Scaachi (November 25, 2019). "No One's Gonna Miss The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Thomas, Lauren (May 21, 2020). "Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands set to close 250 stores, and that could just be the start". CNBC. Retrieved June 4, 2020.