COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Even though The Limited is still stumbling in women's apparel, it is as eager as ever to grow, Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer, said Monday.
Speaking at a press conference following the annual meeting, Wexner said The Limited will test a men's wear catalog this fall for its Structure stores and will detail strategy to expand Bath & Body Works in about a month.
In addition, according to sources, The Limited is testing a broader assortment of fall merchandise for its Express division. Limited officials declined comment on that.
The company is also expected to test more specialized versions of its Victoria's Secret catalog following the success of a swimwear catalog mailed out by the division earlier this year. Officials would not disclose what merchandise categories might be featured in a special catalog.
Victoria's Secret has spent $3 million this month testing TV ads featuring its Second Skin satin lingerie line, and will go ahead with a campaign. During the rest of this decade, sub-branding or cross marketing will be a big part of The Limited's strategy.
"There are no financial limitations on our growth," said Wexner.
Wexner said that within the past year the corporation has been working on a plan to roll out Bath & Body Works overseas and that in about a month he expects to announce details of the international strategy.
Sources later said that about five or six Bath & Body Works stores will begin testing in about a month in England and that the corporation envisions what will ultimately be a 2,000-unit chain.
"I think for almost 30 years we've recognized the importance of sourcing merchandise on a global basis," Wexner said. "We've set the pace and really have been globetrotters on the buying side. On the selling side, we've always been reluctant to move into international retailing. We see opportunities in the global marketplace. We also see the problems. Fashion retailing business has rarely moved successfully."
The only sustained success, he said, has been at the very highest fashion levels -- an area that is not within The Limited's sphere of activity. Wexner explained that while fashion is tough to market internationally, packaged goods such as beer, automobiles and personal care products are the kind of wares that could be sold across borders.
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