Victoria’s Secret, the renowned American lingerie chain, has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. In an attempt to regain cultural relevance and attract younger consumers, the brand has shifted away from its hyper-sexualized image. While Victoria’s Secret has made some progress in diversifying its brand ambassadors and campaigns, these efforts have not translated into increased sales. With a projected decrease in revenue for the fiscal year, the company is now focused on improving profitability and crossing the $7 billion mark in annual sales. This article explores the brand’s evolution, its future strategies, and the challenges it faces in a highly competitive market.
The Need for Change
Victoria’s Secret faced intense competition from emerging brands like Savage X Fenty and Parade, which resonated with consumers through inclusive marketing and progressive language. These newcomers disrupted the lingerie market, prompting Victoria’s Secret to reevaluate its approach. The company recognized the need to update its image and appeal to a broader customer base. While some recent campaigns featuring diverse models received positive feedback, they failed to boost sales significantly.
A Focus on Inclusivity
To revitalize its brand, Victoria’s Secret is aiming to redefine sexiness as inclusive and reflective of its customers’ diverse experiences. Greg Unis, the brand president of Victoria’s Secret and Pink, emphasizes the importance of celebrating diversity. The company intends to invest in new categories such as activewear and swimwear, which were previously abandoned. By expanding its product offerings beyond bras, underwear, and pajamas, Victoria’s Secret hopes to recapture the attention of consumers.
Expanding Product Categories
One key strategy for Victoria’s Secret is to reintroduce swimwear and activewear, two categories that were once successful for the brand. In the past, activewear accounted for a significant portion of the company’s revenue, with a 16% share of the sports bra market. However, in recent years, this segment has diminished, holding only a 4% market share. Victoria’s Secret plans to increase its presence in other apparel offerings such as loungewear, sweaters, slip dresses, and corset tops. The brand also aims to improve the assortment of casual pieces within its Pink sub-brand, including fleeces, sweatpants, and tracksuits.
Redesigning the Retail Experience
To align with its new direction, Victoria’s Secret has embarked on a store transformation. The company started revamping its retail locations, moving away from the dark and austere atmosphere that was popular in the past. The new “store of the future” concept focuses on creating a welcoming and intimate environment. Bright yet warm lighting, soft decor, wider entryways, and smaller rounded fixtures painted in a soft pink tone aim to enhance the overall shopping experience. By redesigning its physical stores, Victoria’s Secret aims to provide a more appealing and inclusive space for its customers.
Competition and Challenges
While Victoria’s Secret is determined to regain its position as the world’s leading fashion retailer of intimate apparel, it faces significant competition. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty brand has emerged as a strong contender, known for its inclusive approach and innovative marketing strategies. Aerie, a sub-brand of American Eagle Outfitters, also poses a challenge to Victoria’s Secret, particularly with younger consumers. Additionally, Skims, the shapewear brand co-founded by Kim Kardashian, has raised significant funding and aims to directly compete with Victoria’s Secret. Despite these challenges, Victoria’s Secret remains the largest underwear retailer in North America, holding approximately 20% of the market share.
Victoria’s Secret plans to adopt a conservative approach when venturing into apparel, focusing on a test-and-learn methodology. The company aims to differentiate itself in a challenging retail sector by offering unique and inclusive products. By investing in new categories, updating its stores, and expanding its global presence, Victoria’s Secret hopes to improve profitability and exceed $7 billion in annual sales. The brand acknowledges the need to adapt to changing consumer preferences and expectations while remaining true to its core identity.
The transformation of Victoria’s Secret from a hyper-sexualized brand to a more inclusive and diverse retailer reflects the evolving landscape of the lingerie industry. While the company has faced setbacks in recent years, it remains committed to reestablishing itself as a leader in the market. By expanding its product categories, redesigning its stores, and embracing inclusivity, Victoria’s Secret aims to appeal to a wider range of consumers. As the brand navigates the challenges ahead, its ability to adapt and resonate with customers will determine its success in the ever-changing world of fashion and retail.