Victoria’s Secret Too Slow to Change

Victoria’s Secret, founded with the idea men should feel more comfortable shopping for the women in their lives, is trying to reframe itself as a brand that’s actually made with female customers in mind. But that’s a tough message to deliver when most of your management is male

Victoria’s Secret has been trying to reconnect with customers who’ve increasingly turned to rivals that embrace female empowerment and diverse body types, like Aerie and ThirdLove, rather than Victoria’s Secret’s traditionally sexy and skinny aesthetic. That has hit comparable sales, a key retail metric, which have dropped for five straight quarters at the underwear chain.

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To be sure, it has made some steps toward an overhaul: The company said in May it would pull its fashion show from network television after 23 years. Ed Razek, who crafted the chain’s annual event with the defining image of lingerie-clad models with angel wings, left over the summer. Earlier this year, activist investor Barington Capital Group LP pushed for changes and successfully nominated two new women to the board, bringing the share of female directors to more than 40 percent

 

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Why it’s hot?

It’s hard to change. It’s especially hard when you as brand have done a good job of culturally defining a persona that everyone wanted to become or be with. In world where differentiation is key was it a bad decision for VS to remain their sexy image? How could they’ve remained loyal to their roots while also becoming the change agent for defining what “sexy” means? How does a company make the decision to throw away the incumbent leadership (predominantly male) for a fresh perspective (female leadership)?