victoria's secret store

The slide continues at Victoria’s Secret.

L Brands, parent company to the lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, released its November monthly sales report Thursday with less-than-desirable returns in the Victoria’s Secret business, proving even Black Friday and the annual fashion show couldn’t boost sales.

The online business at Victoria’s Secret was up 2 percent in November, compared with a 6 percent decline in November 2017. But same-store sales fell 6 percent during the month. That’s on top of a 9 percent decline in November 2017.

In a statement, L Brands said Victoria’s Secret had a “record Cyber Monday,” the day dedicated to online shopping.

Still, the results were disappointing in a month when consumer spending is on the uptick. November’s Black Friday is considered the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

In fact, most of L Brand’s strength stems from its Bath & Body Works business. Online sales at the cosmetics and candle store rose 18 percent during the month, while same-store sales were up 14 percent.

“Putting Victoria’s Secret merchandise margins in context, November merchandise margins were down significantly in another month of stepped up promotions,” Michael Binetti, an analyst at Credit Suisse wrote in a note. “We’re particularly disheartened to see ongoing negative [same-store sales] at Pink despite a solid start to [the] holiday for the industry — increasing our concern that the brand may be more damaged than we expected.”

Victoria’s Secret, still the largest specialty retailer in the intimates market, has been struggling in recent years as consumer preferences shift to brands like American’s Eagle Outfitter’s Aerie that offer a wider range of options and styles.

Even the annual fashion show, once a fan favorite, received harsh criticism after Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for L Brands, gave an interview with Vogue saying the company didn’t have any interest in including transsexual or plus-size models in future shows. He later apologized via social media. Still, television viewership of the annual extravaganza was down from the year before.

To help cut costs, L Brands said earlier this year that it would close all 23 of its Henri Bendel stores and web site in January 2019 and explore other options for its smaller intimates company La Senza. Victoria’s Secret also plans to bring back swimwear in 2019, a potentially lucrative category for the brand.

Last month, Victoria’s Secret’s chief executive officer Jan Singer resigned abruptly, after only two years on the job. The company said John Mehas of Tory Burch would take Singer’s place in early 2019.

The stock was trading up slightly more than 1 percent to close at $33.40 in Thursday’s trading session.

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