The Victoria’s Secret print catalogs get their angel wings

May 23, 2016 10:23 AM

Victoria’s Secret is bidding farewell to its trademark print catalogs, the retailer’s parent company announced last week.

The retailer says that over the past year its tests have shown that the catalogs failed to “generate an acceptable return on sales.” As a result, it plans to focus more on “brand-building and loyalty-enhancing marketing rather than traditional offers,” the retailer says.

The move comes a little more than a month after the multichannel retailer, which is owned by L Brands Inc., No. 28 in Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, announced plans to reposition Victoria’s Secret Direct—the division that includes catalog and online sales—“to align how customers engage with the brands.”

As part of that shift, the retailer is moving away from selling items online that aren’t available in its stores, said Stuart Burgdoerfer, L Brands chief financial officer and executive vice president, during a conference call with analysts. That approach differs from  many other retailers that have embraced “endless aisle” merchandising in which they sell a much wider array of items online.

“We believe that the power and advantage of focus and the consistency between channels far outweighs the incremental revenue that you pick up by adding categories online,” he said.

At the same time that Victoria’s Secret is rethinking how it operates, it hired Jan Singer as its CEO. Singer, who had been CEO of Spanx Inc. (No. 427), will join the retailer in September. She’ll report to L Brands CEO Les Wexner.

For the first fiscal quarter ended April 30, L Brands reported:

  • Total revenue across its stores of $2.614 billion, up 4.1% from $2.512 billion a year earlier.
  • Victoria’s Secret Direct revenue of $359.7 million, up 6.3% from $338.3 million.
  • Total Victoria’s Secret revenue of $1.741 billion, up 3.4% from $1.684 billion.
  • Victoria’s Secret Direct revenue accounted for 20.7% of the business unit’s overall revenue, up slightly from 20.1% a year earlier.
  • Bath & Body Works Direct revenue, which is largely online, of $73.5 up 23.9% from $59.3 million.
  • Total Bath & Body Works revenue of $660.2 million, up 7.6% from $613.3 million.
  • Bath & Body Works Direct revenue accounted for 11.1% of the business unit’s overall revenue, up from 9.7% a year earlier.



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