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Victoria’s Secret sees pandemic rebound with improved sales, more inclusivity

kokkai/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, GMA

(WASHINGTON) — While many retailers have seen a decline in business during the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria’s Secret is leaning into an elevated position for growth and new beginnings.

Many have been applauding the brand for strides toward featuring more inclusive body types in their recent campaign imagery.

In previous years, the brand has traditionally showcased slender models, but in recent months, curvier models such as Devyn Garcia, Candice Huffine and Precious Lee have been a part of the brand’s image.

In 2018, Victoria’s Secret faced criticism after Ed Razek, the former chief marketing officer for L Brands’ (Victoria’s Secret parent company), told “Vogue” he didn’t think the brand should add plus-size or transgender model to its annual fashion show “because the show is a fantasy.”

A year after Razek’s remarks, which he’s since apologized for, the brand announced its first size 14 model, Ali Tate Cutler.

“I never expected that I was going to see an image of myself on the wall next to these top supermodels that I have been looking up to since I was a little girl,” Cutler told E! in 2019. “It feels amazing. I feel on top of the world.”

In addition to featuring more full-figured body types, the brand extended sizing for apparel and bras ranging up to XXL.

The American lingerie, clothing and beauty brand shared with “GMA” a 3Q earnings script that showed customers are responding positively to its merchandise assortments — essentially leading to more dollars across all areas of the company.

“In the lingerie business, a focus on fashion and an improved balance of good, better and best price points are driving improved performance across all categories,” Victoria’s Secret wrote in a statement. “The relaunch of Body by Victoria, with updated and modernized fashion, was a success. Our sleepwear and lounge categories are strong, driven by customers ‘nesting’ at home.”

The company also touted the relaunch of their signature Bombshell and Tease fragrances as being prompts that its customers heavily responded to.

Like many other retailers, Victoria’s Secret did announce 223 store closings, out of 900 stores. Foot traffic within physical stores has been impacted due to the pandemic, but the brand is still poised to increase sales in 2021, it said.

“The quarter-to-date merchandise margin rate was up significantly to last year,” the brand reported in a Holiday 2020 sales script. “Improved assortments, disciplined inventory management and improved selling enabled a substantial reduction in promotional activity.”

Some of Victoria’s current focuses include its semi-annual sale, which runs until mid-January, as well as its most recently released Valentine’s Day advertising campaign featuring notables such as Garcia and Imaan Hammam.

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