Parent company L Brands revealed Monday that it had filed regulatory documents to begin the process of separating Victoria’s Secret from the Bath & Body Works brand.
“Today’s filing is an important step toward creating two independent, public companies designed to thrive in an evolving retail environment,” Andrew Meslow, chief executive officer of L Brands, said in a statement. “We believe Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works will achieve new levels of success and unlock significant value for all stakeholders by pursuing growth strategies best suited to each company’s customer base and strategic objectives. I look forward to working with our exceptional Bath & Body Works team to continue to deliver category-leading product, engaging customer experiences and consistent results as we embark on our next chapter of growth.”
The Form 10 documents filed on Monday are used to register a class of securities (this could be a stock, bond or options) that will be traded on the U.S. stock market. Companies with more than $10 million in total assets and 750 or more shareholders are required to file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
But the retailer has been hard at work over the last 18 months to revive the lingerie brand, which has been losing revenues and market share for at least three years prior to the pandemic.
In February 2020, L Brands announced it would sell a majority stake of Victoria’s Secret — which includes the Lingerie, Beauty and Pink divisions — to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $525 million. The deal fell through amid the pandemic. Three months later, L Brands said it was going it alone and would separate Victoria’s Secret from Bath & Body Works, possibly taking Victoria’s Secret private. Then in May, L Brands said it would spin Victoria’s Secret into a separate public company, Victoria’s Secret & Co. The process is expected to be complete by August.
The lingerie giant has also hired a string of senior-level executives; updated the board with six out of seven board members and a new, female chairperson as L Brands founder Leslie H. Wexner departs; rebranded the innerwear business with a fresh assortment and marketing materials, including the most recent VS Collective, which promotes women for their achievements rather than their physical beauty; added swimwear back to the assortment, and canceled the annual fashion show.
“A fundamental equity in the brand is about the idea of sexy,” Martha Pease, Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, told WWD earlier this month. “And this idea of sexy is not something women want us to walk away from. What they want us to walk away from is defining sexy for women. And what they want us to embrace is that women define sexy for themselves.
“I do think there will be some people who will say, you know what? That’s not where I want to be. That’s maybe not the right kind of space for me to be in,” she continued. “But I’m not anticipating that’s going to be a huge barrier. We’re going to be better positioned not to lose the historic relationship we’ve had with women, but to make it relevant. Our big issue is relevance. We’re very focused on how do we bring this brand into a very relevant position with consumers? But also relevant to fashion. And also relevant to just the world of cultural conversations.”
So far, the plan is working. In the most recent quarter, revenues at the innerwear brand topped $1.5 billion. Shares of L Brands, which closed up 4.68 percent Monday to $65.72 a piece, are up nearly 349 percent, year-over-year.
“This is an exciting time for all of us at Victoria’s Secret,” said Martin Waters, CEO of Victoria’s Secret. “The progress we have made over the last year underscores our commitment to driving profitable growth, creating new opportunities for our talented associates and evolving our brand and products to reflect the diverse experiences, passions and perspectives of our customers. We look forward to building on our momentum as an independent, public company.”