Every year, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show broadcasts to millions of viewers.
A flurry of top models called angles strut down the runway in sexy lingerie
next to famous pop stars belting their best songs
It’s a visual celebration of the top lingerie retailer in the United States,
which consistently captures around 60 percent of the market.
I get all my bras and underwear from Victoria’s Secret.
When I go into a store, I feel so special,
like it’s a holiday for me when I go shopping.
但近来 维密看起来 正失去部分魔力
But lately, Victoria’s Secret seems to be losing some of its magic.
Just look at the fashion show’s ratings,
2011年起稳步下滑 2018年再创新低 只有330万
which have steadily fallen since 2011 to historic low of 3.3 million in 2018. See,
瞧 维密所贩卖的性感 与大多数女性的距离越来越远
there’s a widening chasm between what Victoria’s Secret sells as sexy and what most women look like.
And between Victoria’s Secret products and what most women want in bras and underwear.
Victoria’s Secret’s annual same-store sales have fallen three years in a row,
and the stock value of its parent company, L Brands, fell by 55 percent in 2018.
So what was the secret to Victoria’s prior success?
And will they find it again?
Let’s start with the basics.
Victoria’s Secret is one of several brands owned by the parent company L Brands.
Victoria’s Secret is the largest retailer under L Brands,
making up around 60 percent of the company’s total sales.
And 35 percent of that is justbras.
L字母代表The Limited 是该公司第一个品牌名
This L stands for The Limited, the name of the company’s first brand.
由商人莱斯利·维克斯纳在1963年创立 最初The Limited 作为一间服装店
Businessman Leslie Wexner founded The Limited in 1963 as a clothing store that
brought the fashionability of Europe and America’s coastal cities to the women of the Midwest.
1979年 The Limited 成功上市 在全美开出了318间门店
By 1979, The Limited had gone public and opened 318 stores across the nation.
In the early 1980s, Wexner visited oneof his stores in San Francisco.
在那里 一间店偶然引起了他的好奇： 一间叫维多利亚的秘密的内衣店
While there, he stumbled upon a curious shop: a lingerie retailer called Victoria’s Secret.
See, retail of ladies’ undergarments today is very different than how it used to be.
American women typically viewed their undergarments on a binary:
strictly functional for day-to-day or fancy and sexy for special occasions.
Because of this relatively low demand,
lingerie was relegated to dusty corners on the second floors of department stores.
That’s what Victoria’s Secret’s founder,Roy Raymond, wanted to change.
Raymond opened the first Victoria’s Secret in Palo Alto in 1977.
By the time Wexner discovered one in 1982,
Raymond had opened four more stores in San Francisco.
The five stores combined made six million in sales that year.
But still, the stores were struggling. Raymond’s business rested on his idea
that men like him bought lingerie for the women in their lives.
所以他一直要求店铺迎合男士口味：深色调 皮沙发 性感服饰
So he curated his stores for men’s tastes: dark colors, leather sofas, racy garments.
But the men weren’t buying much, and
their wives found the lingerie they did buy uncomfortable and unappealing.
So by 1982, Victoria’s Secret was onthe verge of bankruptcy.
Wexner saw an opportunityto do for lingerie
what The Limited had done for clothing.
So he bought Victoria’s Secret forabout $1 million.
Wexner set to work to transform the undergarment habits of Americanwomen.
He constructed standard supportive bras but spiced them up with vivid colors and distinctive prints.
He redesigned the stores to bereminiscent of a 19th-century
English boudoir using softer, more feminine colors.
He wanted to create a store where’the sexiest women in the world’ would buy lingerie,
and then invite regular women to partake in this glamorous fantasy
(for a steep price tag). It worked.
and it worked partly because women worked
The power suit was important then and they wore a little teddies
because that was like a sexy layer underneath the jacket.
Even though she was wearing a power suit and she was in the workforce,
she still wanted to wear something that was sexy and appropriate for her figure.
See, Victoria’s Secret entered the market in the 1980s,
right when women raised with many revolutionary ideas were entering the workforce.
The sexual revolution encouraged them to embrace theirown sexiness.
The workplace revolution meant that millions more of them had disposable income.
And they didn’t spend that disposable income on weddings or babies because
they increasingly delayedthose choices.
So they spent it on bras.
At least, enough to propel Victoria’s Secret to early success.
By 1986, the retailer had 100 storesacross the country and
was stealing marketshare from department stores.
Nine years later, it had 670 stores nationwide
and produced 1.9billion dollars in sales.
So the elevation of the brand correspond
with the elevation of what was happening culturally
in terms of women exercising their own power,
their own feminist movement, and their rights.
And Victoria’s Secret was able to capitalize on that.
But even with all this success, women’s shopping habits hadn’t significantly changed.
Women hadn’t yet bought the idea that
they should spend more on a fancier bra for daily use.
因此 90年代中后期 维密试图设计出一款文胸
So for the rest of the 90s, Victoria’sSecret searched for a bra
that could straddle the line between function and beauty.
Three major attempts flopped, either for
sacrificing structure for beauty or for just baffling advertising.
直到1999年 Body by Victoria一经面世大受欢迎
It wasn’t until 1999 that Wexner found a hit with the Body by Victoria line.
Following consumer intelligence, Wexner
created this bra to be seamless and padded with soft, luxurious fabric.
在刚推出的前四周 Body by Victoria 的销量
Body by Victoria sold more than 2.5 times the bras of any other line
launched by Victoria’s Secretin its first four weeks.
Though the bra sold for more than double
the price of the average department store bra,
the line was nearly sold out six weeks after launching.
This was the beginning of Victoria’s Secret’s path to dominating the intimate apparel industry.
The company expanded rapidly.
It started cosmetic and fragrance lines. It launched
the brand PINK in 2004 to appeal to younger women
涵盖时髦胸衣 内衣 休闲服
with trendy bras, underwear, and lounge wear.
Meanwhile the annual fashion show became a ratings powerhouse.
It drew 12.4 million viewers
in 2001 when it moved to network television,
and it launched the careers of now-supermodels like
像海蒂·克鲁姆 吉赛尔·邦辰 阿德里亚娜·利马和 泰拉·班克斯
Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima, and
Tyra Banks. By 2006, one out of every three
purchases in the intimate apparel industry came from a Victoria’s Secret.
That year, Wexner named Sharen Turney, longtime
leader of the brand’s catalog division, as the new CEO.
In 2010 and 2011, same-store sales grew
at 14 percent, and in 2012, Victoria’s Secret was
crowned the”most buzzed-about apparel brand in
the U.S.” But this is also where the retailer began to slip.
刚开始很缓慢 同店销售额增长在2012年下降到了7% 在接下来两年里就只有3%了
It started slowly. Same-store sales fell to 7 percent in 2012 and just 3 percent for the next two years.
This number bounced back to 5 percent in 2015, but then CEO
Turney rattled the company again when she abruptly resigned in 2016.
Wexner stepped in to make changes. First, Wexler restructured the
company and laid off 200 employees.
He installed a new CEO, JanSinger, who previously headed up
the shapewear brand Spanx. Next, Victoria’s
Secret slimmed its offerings. It shuttered both
its swimsuit and catalog businesses. The ending
of the swimsuit line especially worried investors.
Though it had trended downward for a
few years, it still comprised roughly 500 million
dollars of L Brands’ revenue. But the company
sacrificed it to focus on its core lingerie line
and expand its athleisure offerings. These
changes came late. Both the lingerie and
athleisure markets had seen major shifts in the preceding years and other,
younger brands had
already established themselvesas retailers whose
products and messaging more accurately reflect
更准确的影响了这些变化 想想Aerie ThirdLove
these shifts. Think Aerie, ThirdLove, and
celebrity lines like Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty,
Kate Hudson’s Fabletics, and Beyonce’s Ivy Park.
Their success underlines a major problem for Victoria’s Secret:
the retailer, once heralded as
a revolutionary, is falling behind the times.
Let’s look at how. First, women increasingly
prioritize comfort and a more natural look. The
whole attitude or prescription of sexiness is
very different today than it was, I would say, five years ago.
Comfort is the key word here.
On the lingerie side, women want to swap their wired,
padded pushup bras for comfortable bralettes,
bandeaus, and body suits. By the time
Victoria’s Secret introduced bralettes in 2016,
但市场上已挤满了像Aerie ThirdLove和Soma 等品牌
the market was already crowded with brands like Aerie, ThirdLove, and Soma.
Aerie especially hit the mark withyounger consumers. Its annual
same-store sales have increased by double-digits each year since 2015.
On the athleisure side,
Victoria’s Secret was again late to the game.
Athleisure’s market value grewby over 40 from 2013 to 2018,
as women sported yoga pants to
coffee shops, grocery stores, and sometimes
actual yoga classes. So when Victoria’s Secret
introduced its athleisure line in 2016, it had to
contend with existing behemoths like Lululemon and Nike.
Lululemon, a mecca for yoga pants enthusiasts,
has increased its overall sales and
profit every year since it went public in 2007.
Second, a growing movement to represent all types
of people and bodies has gone mainstream.
They’re not very diverse and you don’t get that much representation there.
So I’d rather shop
somewhere where I can, like, see myself. Like the glamorous,
像那些迷人的 完美的身材 完美的色彩搭配
the perfect body, the perfect
color…I don’t relate to it.
Victoria’s Secret’s competitors increasingly emphasize racial, body,
维密的对手们越来越强调种族 身型 性别的包容性
and gender inclusivity in their messaging.
Just look at these ads from Ivy park and
像Ivy Park和Aerie 以及跨性别明星Laverne Cox
Aerie featuring transgender star Laverne
Cox and plus-sized model Iskra Lawrence. When
speaking to Vogue about her new lingerie line,
megastar Rihanna described herself as” not built
like a Victoria’s Secret girl.”
But Victoria’s Secret clings to its Angels, who
epitomize the slim yet busty bombshell look that
consumers increasingly shun as unrealistic and demeaning.
So you see these fantastical things
coming down the catwalk and women can’t relate to it.
Victoria’s Secret found itself in hot water
when Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek implied in
a 2018 Vogue interview that neither plus-sized
nor transgender models could sell the Victoria’s
Secret fantasy. Writers and Twitter users slammed
the retailer, calling it and its show outdated, transphobic,
and more. And Victoria’s Secret’s competitor ThirdLove
called out the brand and a full page ad in The New York Times.
Razek later apologized, statingthe show is open to casting transgender models.
Finally, Victoria’s Secret could face a backlash
from consumers who increasingly care about company ethics.
A 2018 Mintel report notes that
97 percent of U.S. consumers think it’s at least
somewhat important that companies behave ethically, up from 76 percent in 2012.
Victoria’s Secret consistently ratespoorly on the annual
Ethical Fashion Report and has faced a slew of
accusations over the years, including reports of
child and slave labor. CNBC reached out to
Victoria’s Secret for comment, but they declined.
After the rocky last two years, analysts and
investors worry for L Brands’ falling angel. L
Brands’ continued sales growth is now thanks to its other popular brand,
Bath & Body Works品牌
Bath & Body Works.
The brand is now trying a few tactics to turn this trend around.
First they plan to re-enter the swimsuit catalogry
as well as others they’ve abandoned.
其次 他们继续和大品牌Ugg boots合作
second they pursue collaboration with brands like Ugg boots
以及和时尚设计师Balmain和 Mary Katranzou合作
and fashion designers like Balmain and Mary Katranzou.
Finally, the company is looking at paring back its real estate,
as analysts have argued it has far too
many stores across the country.
Still, analysts question if these steps will work.
Victoria’s Secret doesn’t seem to be trying to change
its products or messaging to keep up with shifting consumer priorities.
At least, not as fast or
successfully as its competition.
Their product assortment is lacking in terms of
understanding what their target audience wants.
You know, as a retailer you have to be nimble.
Victoria’s Secret is still trying to appeal to
the men of the Mad Men era. And that’s over.