Analysis: How woke is Victoria’s Secret?

Victoria's Secret in Cardiff

Victoria’s Secret’s cancellation of its formerly ratings-topping fashion show and plunging profits are the latest evidence that the brand is losing touch with contemporary consumers. Can it ever regain relevance?

Owner L Brands’ chief finance officer, Stuart Burgdoerfer, revealed that the famous TV extravaganza would not go ahead this year as he unveiled dismal third-quarter results – the latest in a stream of disappointing updates that have led many to believe the power of Victoria’s Secret is on the wane as a new generation of shoppers turns their back on a business they feel has little in common with them.

The show was once used as a marketing tool ahead of Christmas, but this year the lingerie brand will instead be “figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers” without the “remarkable marketing achievement” that it said the fashion show had been.

The show, featuring some of the most famous supermodels in the world, first aired in 1995 and in its heyday was watched by 20 million viewers.

But last year’s spectacular provided a rude awakening for the lingerie brand as the event hit an all-time low of 3.2 million viewers. The product and presentation that had once wowed viewers were turning off consumers who regarded them as outdated.

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