Victoria’s Secret is an American specialty lingerie, clothing and beauty retailer legendary for its racy marketing including a yearly catalogue and fashion show featuring supermodels dubbed the Angels. The company is the largest lingerie retailer in the world, but it’s been struggling for years and is facing competition from a host of new brands. The eponymous brand’s recent efforts to reverse its sexy image include promoting plus-size models in ads, changing the mannequins in its stores to reflect more diverse bodies and expanding into products like mastectomy bras that don’t fit the company’s previous definition of “sexy.”
The series’ release comes as the company has been trying to turn around a multiyear sales decline that’s been exacerbated by a shift in consumer attitudes about body image and women’s sexuality. The company is also fighting back against competition from upstart lingerie brands and its former parent company, L Brands, which has rebranded itself as Aerie to focus on underwear for women of all sizes.
As part of its rebranding, the company has stepped up its efforts to make its clothes and bras more comfortable. It has added a line of sports bras called Love Cloud that are softer and more supportive than the wire-filled, padding-packed bras the company was known for selling in the past. It has also remodeled its stores, with lighter paint on the walls and mannequins of more diverse shapes and sizes.
In addition, the company has been experimenting with less-pricey bras and underwear designed to appeal to young customers. Last year, it launched the limited-edition Fantasy Bra which cost $70, and this year it debuted a lingerie set that’s even more affordable.
Still, it remains to be seen whether these changes will boost the company’s bottom line. Same-store sales have been falling since 2016 and the company’s stock price has slid for two straight years. It’s also been under pressure from shareholders, who have been demanding a higher dividend in return for their investment.
Victoria’s Secret’s stock was up 0.9% in premarket trading on Monday, and is down about 16% this year. The company has been criticized for its handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a former employee and its links to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The company is trying to change its perception as a store that sells lingerie for women of all sizes and has been adding size-inclusive products in response to rising demand from consumers. Retail analyst Jessica Ramirez of Jane Hali & Associates says she’s noticed that the company’s selection is now more inclusive in stores and online, with bras available in more sizes. But she says ongoing supply chain constraints may slow the pace of progress.