Victoria's Secret Stores is not hush-hush, but it is unmentionable(s). The largest subsidiary of L Brands (almost 50% of sales) is also North America's #1 specialty retailer of women's intimate apparel, operating about 1,100 mostly mall-based Victoria's Secret and Victoria's Secret Pink shops throughout the US, Canada, and now the UK. Bras, panties, hosiery, swimwear, and fragrances are sold under the Victoria's Secret brand and grouped in collections such as Angels and Very Sexy. Many Victoria's Secret lingerie stores also sell beauty products. The chain's youth-oriented PINK brand targets teens and younger women with less-racy bras and panties, as well as sweats and hoodies and beauty products.
Victoria's Secret Stores operates about 1,060 locations in the US, about 55 in Canada, and five shops in London. Beyond North America, nearly 200 Victoria's Secret Beauty and Accessories Stores (formerly Victoria's Secret Travel and Tourism Stores) are operated by partners, primarily at airports and tourist destinations.
Victoria's Secret Stores is a top performer among L Brands' retail businesses. In fiscal 2014 (ended January), sales increased by 4% versus the prior year, to nearly $5.2 billion. Same-store sales rose 3%, versus 7% in the previous annual comparison. Sales increased across most merchandise categories including PINK, sport, swimwear, and core lingerie. Operating income increased by 17% over the same period. The retailer's US store count has increased by more than 40 locations over the past two years and sales per average selling square foot grown by 9%. The chain's ongoing expansion in Canada and the growing popularity of the PINK brand among younger women have also helped to boost sales.
The UK and Canada are growth markets for Victoria's Secret Stores. In 2012, the retailer opened a flagship Victoria's Secret store on New Bond Street in London, as well as a mall-based store. Three more Victoria's Secret shops opened in the UK in fiscal 2014 (ended January), bringing the store count there to five. The chain is also continuing its expansion in Canada. Other channels for growth include the Victoria's Secret Beauty and Accessories Stores, which added 90 locations in fiscal 2014, bringing the total to nearly 200.
Victoria's Secret has exited the clothing and accessories business -- due to sluggish sales -- and will focus its efforts going forward entirely on lingerie, swimwear, and fragrances.
The youth-oriented PINK brand (launched 2004) has established itself as a successful feeder brand for Victoria's Secret. Its aim is to capture teen and college-age female customers in the hope that when they mature they'll move on to the sexier styles offered by its big sister brand. PINK is sold in freestanding stores as well as Victoria's Secret shops. While the company doesn't break out PINK sales, the brand is meeting stiff competition from American Eagle's Aerie brand and Gilly Hicks by Abercrombie & Fitch. Both also target the youth market.