Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works are closing stores in Canada
L Brands, the company that owns lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret and sister store Bath & Body Works, has just announced that it is planning to permanently shutter hundreds of storefronts in North America, including a select number in Canada.
It's been a rough few years for VS in particular. The chain has been on a steady decline since 2018, when one if its executives made a shocking comment about transgender and plus-size people not fitting the "fantasy" of the brand that had people outraged and ready to boycott.
By no coincidence, the famously elaborate (and arguably anachronistic and sexist) production that was the Victoria's Secret fashion show was cancelled the following year, and now, the news of the store closures.
Came here to say the same, they were already going down before all of this. Frankly I’m surprised it’s taken this long.— MTEC (@mtec009) May 21, 2020
Around 250 Victoria's Secret stores will close down, 13 of them in Canada, while 51 Bath & Body Works locations will likewise close their doors, only one of which will be north of the border.
This will leave 38 of the former and 101 of the latter stores standing nationwide, an indication of which of the two has been more successful for L Brands.
The principal had a deal to sell off VS and its PINK banner to a private equity firm, which ended up being cancelled earlier this month.
L Brands's new strategy, according to Women's Wear Daily, is to focus on the more lucrative Bath & Body Works and continue with plans to separate and privatize its lingerie subsidiary while also introducing "cost-reduction actions and performance improvements," which include the store closures.
Hahaha they would rather end it than add some diversity. Hilarious! pic.twitter.com/Jo40EqppTr— Mike Oxlong (@xMyTweetx) November 21, 2019
The retail giant's financials for the first quarter of 2020 showed a 37 per cent decline in sales, attributed to forced closures during the pandemic.
Along with the announced cut in operations, it has said that it is also "evaluating strategic alternatives to reduce or eliminate losses in the U.K. and China," which may or may not mean culling more physical stores.
L Brands will also be focusing more on virtual sales, though it notably does not have an online shopping option for Canadians looking to buy Bath & Body Works products at this time.
Some consumers note that the company could have done more to thrive during the health crisis, especially given that much-sought-after hand sanitizer was a cornerstone of Bath & Body Works's product line.
Why didn’t Bath and Body works attempt to pump the sale of their hand sanitizers? I went to their website but they didn’t do online orders. Could have been great. Also VS would have killed it making masks.— Bliss Seeker (@blissseeker1) May 21, 2020
Though both Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works definitely have their share of diehard fans here in Canada, there is no denying that VS's controversy has given a lot of women negative feelings about the brand and what it represents, leading to mixed reaction to this latest news.
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