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Victoria's Secret owner might be stepping down (and selling the brand)

Thursday, January 30, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks |

Not a secret.. Les Wexner, the billionaire owner of Victoria's Secret parent L Brands, is in talks to step down from his CEO-ship and possibly sell the lingerie brand (WSJ reports). The 82-year-old is the longest-serving CEO of any S&P 500 — and besides V's Secret, he also turned around Abercrombie & Fitch and scaled Bath & Body Works into mall staples. But his association with Jeffrey Epstein hasn't helped.

  • Vicky's struggled the past few years with falling sales and shrinking relevance – stores are too dark, the fashion show's outdated, and pushups missed out to the bralette trend.
  • L Brands as a whole is losing value — it was worth $29B at its 2015 peak, and is now worth less than $6B. But the stock jumped 13% on word Les may be out.

Spin-off the problem brand... focus on the clean one. Bath & Body Works has shown annual sales growth for 9-straight years (guess the foaming hand soaps never get old). Bath & Body's hygiene and self-care is tapped into the wellness trend, and is L Brands' star performer as Victoria's falls.

THE TAKEAWAY

Fashion is constantly evolving... And fashion brands succeed through change. VS didn't change. Its sales fell as customers turned to brands more focused on comfort and inclusivity, like American Eagle's Aerie (which enjoyed 20-straight quarters of double-digit sales growth). L Brands cancelled the VS fashion show in an effort to re-invent its marketing — but it may take a new leader (and Les leaving) to save Victoria.