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Report: Victoria’s Secret ‘rethinking’ famous annual fashion show

BY Marianne Wilson

Network television audiences have likely seen the last of Victoria’s Secret glammed-up models strutting the runway in skimpy outfits and angel wings.

In a memo to employees by Les Wexner, CEO of Victoria’s parent L Brands, that was obtained by CNBC, the legendary retailer wrote that, going forward, network television is no longer the “right fit” for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The iconic — and expensive — show has been broadcast on ABC and CBS for almost 20 years, typically airing during the holiday shopping season.

The glitzy fashion show has faced declining viewership and increasing criticism that a parade of skinny women outfitted in provocative lingerie shows just how of touch Victoria’s Secret is with today’s consumers, particularly in a #MeToo era. In 2017, the show had just under 5 million viewers, down 32% from the previous year. In 2018, viewership was down to 3.3 million, a record low.

“In 2019 and beyond, we’re focusing on developing exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event – delivered to our customers on platforms that she’s glued to … and in ways that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age,” Wexner wrote.

The memo comes as Victoria’s Secret is trying to revive its brand. While still dominant in its category, the lingerie chain’s same-store sales have fallen for the past three years as it has come under increased competition from such newer rivals as Third Love and Aerie that emphasize more inclusive sizing, comfortable fits and body-positive imaging. Most recently, Target joined the fray, launching three “size inclusive” lingerie brands.

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