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Victoria’s Secret to close 250 stores in US and Canada

Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands said it will close 250 of its stores across the United States and Canada.

Victoria’s Secret, with its emphasis on supermodel “Angels” wearing padded bras, has long dominated the US lingerie market but has struggled in recent years with falling sales.
(Photo: MarketWatch courtesy of Getty Images)

The disclosure was made yesterday in L Brands’ quarterly report which saw net sales fall by more than US$1 billion.

L Brands recorded net sales of US$1.654 billion for the quarter ended May 2, down 37 per cent when compared to US$2.629 billion for the same period last year. Much of the fall-off can be attributed to the closure of most of its stores since March 17 due to the coronavirus.

Individually, Victoria’s Secret saw its sales plummet 46 per cent to US$821.5 million. However, the brand has seen its sales tumble for some time now.

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)

The once-coveted lingerie and women’s wear brand, Victoria’s Secret will see 235 of its stores in the US shutter this year, along with three of its sister brand PINK’s. The other closures will be in Canada as many other large retailers continue to reel from the financial blow of the coronavirus.

In February, L Brands announced the sale of 55 per cent majority stake of the company to a private equity firm, Sycamore Partners, which fell through after Sycamore said Victoria’s Secret breached the terms of the purchase agreement.

Victoria’s Secret has struggled to retain relevance as online shopping grew and more inclusive brands have come to market. Criticisms that it has been “one-note” in its interpretation of sexy have seen its enviable pole position eroded by Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty and other competitors who have wider appeal.

A bra is display at Victoria’s Secret store in Manhattan in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, November.14, 2018. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Other once booming retailers have faced similar fates, forced to downsize, close stores or file for bankruptcy as the COVID-19 virus forced people out of malls and online, where few have managed to find success.

JCPenney has filed for bankruptcy and announced the closure of 240 stores, while Neiman Marcus and J.Crew both filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.