Dear Victoria’s Secret: Here’s how to recover from your death spiral

By Arianne Cohen

The downward spiral of Victoria’s Secret continued today with another dismal earnings report, this time showing same-store sales were down 12% over the holiday season. L Brands, the company’s corporate parent, has seen its stock plunge 32% over the past year.

In a way, this is mystifying: Victoria’s Secret sells cute lingerie! It has executed A+ brand awareness, a strong brick-and-mortar presence, and sharp online retailing! The problem is it continues to display its lovely lingerie exclusively on lily-white waifs who appear underage, and release a catalog that is widely known as masturbatory material for men attracted to jail bait. Millennial and Gen Z women think this is repulsive. (Because it’s repulsive.)

As dire as things seem for Victoria’s Secret, we still think the brand could be salvageable with a few changes:

    First: Fix the company’s C-suite problem, and hire women in leadership roles. You know, lady-folk whose ages start with 5- and 6-, with letters like ‘M’ ‘B’ and ‘A’ after their names—such as any of the dozens of highly talented executives running U.S. fashion retailers. Keep hiring until the C-suite overflows with ladies who fully comprehend two important words: “me too.” They will tell you that it’s time to retire “Pink,” which is a gross porn reference.

    Second: Clean house. Multiple executives, including the chairman and CEO of L Brands, Lex Wexner, were heavily intertwined with Jeffrey Epstein. It’s time to realize that women can purchase coverings for their lady bits in numerous ways that will not enrich men implicated with a sex trafficker of underage girls.

If nothing else, these efforts will clear the way for the “for her, by her” concept (good!) pitched by Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas in September. The goal is to empower women, not display women. Different!

Memo to VS: If you prefer visuals—and we know you do—just consult  your corporate governance page. See that? The giant photo of eight mostly naked high school girls, above eight male executives’ names? That. Fix that. You can do it.


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