Victoria’s Secret, the iconic American lingerie, clothing, and beauty brand, is undergoing a strategic shift by returning to a focus on “sexiness” after a feminist rebranding effort, which was aimed at countering declining sales. The company’s latest move is an attempt to reinvigorate its business by investing in activewear, swimwear, renovating its 1,400 outlets, and opening 400 new stores worldwide. Victoria’s Secret aims to generate over $7 billion in annual sales as it faces fierce competition from brands like Kim Kardashian’s Skims and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty.
In recent years, Victoria’s Secret has faced a decline in revenue. The company had a projected 2023 revenue of $6.2 billion, which represents a 5% drop from 2022 and is notably lower than the $7.5 billion in revenue it achieved in 2020. The company’s chief executive, Martin Waters, acknowledged the challenges in the current economic climate, where consumer spending is constrained, and competition in the fashion industry is fierce.
Despite previous efforts to emphasize inclusivity and female empowerment, Victoria’s Secret has seen sales continue to decline. The brand executive, Greg Unis, has announced a renewed focus on sex appeal as a central element of the company’s marketing strategy while asserting that “sexiness can be inclusive.” The goal is to celebrate the diverse experiences of their customers.
Recent changes in marketing strategies have included the absence of traditional runway shows, with a shift towards more diverse advertising campaigns featuring models like Hailey Bieber, Emily Ratajkowski, as well as plus-size models advocating for body positivity such as Paloma Elsesser and Ali Tate-Cutler. The company has also worked on promoting inclusivity by signing transgender model Valentina Sampaio and former US Women’s football captain and LGBTQ advocate, Megan Rapinoe. However, these attempts have not yet reversed the downward trend in the company’s revenue.
Victoria’s Secret’s decision to refocus on sexiness in its brand image represents a significant shift in strategy, highlighting the challenges and complexities of navigating a highly competitive and rapidly changing fashion industry.