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Victoria’s Secret to Revert to Classic Image After Failed Makeover Amid Sales Decline

by Riley Cook

Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret appears to be reversing its recent feminist and inclusive makeover as it grapples with declining revenues.

Image Credit: Scott Olson / Staff / Getty Images

The brand had previously moved away from its "hyper-sexualized" image in an attempt to align with modern societal values and promote inclusivity. However, these changes have not translated into business success.

In light of the significant drop in revenue, Victoria’s Secret is now seeking to revamp its classic image and emphasize "sexiness" once more. This decision, although not yet officially announced by the brand, was reported by Cathaleen Chen and also featured by CNN on Tuesday.

The brand's past efforts to promote inclusivity included featuring LGBTQ and transgender models as spokespeople and discontinuing the use of its famous "Angels" supermodels. While these changes garnered favorable reviews from online critics, they did not result in increased sales.

Financial data reveals a decline in projected revenue for Victoria’s Secret. For 2023, the projected revenue is $6.2 billion, which is 5% lower than the previous year and even less than the $7.5 billion revenue reported in 2020. The sales slump coincided with the company's transition to a mostly female board of directors.

The brand's past efforts to move away from its traditional image and embrace body-positive marketing included attempts to foster inclusivity by featuring a diverse range of models and spokespersons. However, the financial results show that these initiatives were not as profitable as hoped.

In response, Victoria’s Secret has announced a new direction, blending its classic image of sexiness with some of its more inclusive marketing initiatives. The Victoria’s Secret: The Tour ’23 is described as a display that "fell somewhere in between the personification of male lust of the brand’s aughts-era heyday and the inclusive utopia promoted by its many disruptors."

Victoria’s Secret and Pink brand president Greg Unis highlighted the new focus, stating, "Sexiness can be inclusive" and that "sexiness can celebrate the diverse experiences of our customers." Chief executive Martin Waters admitted that despite best efforts, the inclusive initiatives had not been profitable for the company, and he said, "It’s not been enough to carry the day."

The company’s new objective is to "improve profitability and cross back over $7 billion in annual sales." To achieve this goal, Victoria’s Secret plans to introduce activewear and swimwear, update its existing stores, and open 400 new ones outside the United States.

Victoria’s Secret has not yet responded to requests for comment regarding the reported changes.


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