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Victoria's Secret

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Title: Victoria's Secret  
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Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret
Type Subsidiary
Industry Apparel
Founded Stanford Shopping Center, San Francisco, California, U.S.
(June 12, 1977 (1977-06-12))[1]
Founders Roy Raymond
Headquarters Three Limited Parkway, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Number of locations 1,017 company-owned stores
18 independently owned stores[2]
Area served United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, China and Israel
Key people Lori Greeley
(CEO of Victoria's Secret Stores)[3]
Sharen Jester Turney
(CEO and President of Victoria's Secret Megabrand and Intimate Apparel)
Products Underwear, women's clothing, lingerie, swimwear, footwear, fragrances and beauty products
Parent L Brands

Victoria's Secret is the largest American retailer of lingerie and was founded by Roy Raymond in 1977.[1][4][5] 2012 sales were $6.12 billion.[6] The company sells lingerie, womenswear, and beauty products through its catalogs (sending out 375 million a year), website, and its U.S. stores. Victoria's Secret is wholly owned by publicly traded L Brands company.[7]


1977: Founding

Victoria's Secret was founded by Tufts University and Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus Roy Raymond, and his wife Gaye,[8] in San Francisco, California on June 12, 1977.[4][9]

Eight years prior to founding Victoria's Secret, Raymond was embarrassed when purchasing lingerie for his wife at a department store. Newsweek reported him looking back on the incident from the vantage of 1981: "When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife," he recalls, "I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns, and I always had the feeling the department-store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder."[10]

During the 1970s and 1980s, most women in America purchased "dowdy", "pragmatic", "foundation garments" by Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, and Jockey in packs of three from department stores and saved "fancier items" for "special occasions" like honeymoons.[11] "Lacy thongs and padded push-up bras" were niche products during this period found "alongside feathered boas and provocative pirate costumes at Frederick's of Hollywood" outside of the main stream product offerings available at department stores.[11]

Raymond studied the lingerie market for eight years[12] before borrowing $40,000 from his parents and $40,000 from a bank to establish Victoria's Secret: a store in which men could feel comfortable buying lingerie.[9][13] The company's first store was located in Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California.[14][15]

1977–1980: The early years

Victoria's Secret grossed $500,000 in its first year of business,[15] enough to finance the expansion from a headquarters and warehouse to four new store locations[16] and a mail-order operation.[9]

By 1980, Raymond had added two more San Francisco stores at 2246 Union Street and 115 Wisconsin Street.

By 1982, the fourth store (still in the San Francisco area) was added at 395 Sutter Street.[17] Victoria's Secret stayed at that 395 Sutter Street location until 1991, when it moved to the larger Powell Street frontage of the Westin St. Francis.[18]

In April 1982, Raymond sent out his 12th catalogue; each catalogue cost $3.[17] Catalogue sales now accounted for 55% of the company's $7 million annual sales.[17]

The Victoria's Secret stores at this time were "a niche player" in the underwear market. The business was described as "more burlesque than Main Street."[19]

1982: Sale to The Limited

Raymond's philosophy of focusing on selling lingerie to male customers became increasingly unprofitable and Victoria's Secret headed for bankruptcy.[11]

In 1982, it had grown to six stores, a 42-page catalogue, and was grossing $6 million annually. Raymond sold Victoria's Secret Inc. to Leslie Wexner, creator of Limited Stores Inc of Columbus, Ohio, for $1 million.[9][20][21] (Though the figure was not disclosed until later.)[20]

1983: Strategy change

In 1983, Leslie Wexner revamped Victoria's Secret. He discarded the money-losing model of selling lingerie to male customers and replaced it with one that focused on women.[22] Victoria's Secret transformed from "more burlesque than Main Street" to a mainstay that sold broadly accepted underwear. The "new colors, patterns and styles that promised sexiness packaged in a tasteful, glamorous way and with the snob appeal of European luxury" were supposed to appeal to and appease female buyers.[22] To further this image, the Victoria's Secret catalog continued the practice that Raymond began:[23] listing the company's headquarters on catalogs at a fake London address, with the real headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.[22] The stores were redesigned to evoke 19th century England.

From at least 1985 through to 1993, Victoria's Secret sold men's underwear.[24][25]

In 1986, four years after the sale, The New York Times commented, "in an industry where mark-downs have been the norm, the new emphasis is on style and service".[26] The lingerie business was changing fast.

1983–1990: Expansion into malls

In the five years after the purchase, The Limited had transformed a three store boutique into a 346 store retailer.[23]

Howard Gross took over as president, from his position as vice-president, in 1985.[27]

In October that year, the Los Angeles Times reported that Victoria's Secret was stealing market share from department stores;[28] in 1986, Victoria's Secret was the only national chain of lingerie stores.[26]

The New York Times reported on Victoria's Secret's rapid expansion from four stores in 1982 to 100 in 1986; and analysts's expectations that it could expand to 400 by 1988.[26][29]

In 1987, Victoria's Secret was reportedly among the "best-selling catalogs".[30] In 1990 analysts estimated that sales had quadrupled to $120 in four years, making it one of the fastest growing mail-order businesses.[31]

The New York Times described it as a "highly visible leader", saying it used "unabashedly sexy high-fashion photography to sell middle-priced underwear."[32]

Victoria's Secret also released their own line of fragrances in 1991.[33]

1990–1993: Persistent quality problems

By the early 1990s, Victoria's Secret faced a gap in management that led to the "once hot lingerie chain" to be "plagued by persistent quality problems".[34][35] Howard Gross, who had grown the company into a "lingerie empire"[36] since Wexner's 1982 purchase, was moved to poorly performing L Brands subsidiary Limited Stores.[34] Business Week reported that "both divisions have suffered".[34]

1993–1996: Nichols resolves quality problems

Grace Nichols, who was President and CEO at that time,[37] worked to resolve the quality problems;[36] their margins tightened resulting slower growth in profits[34]

Victoria's Secret introduced the Miracle Bra selling two million within the first year; but faced competition from Sara Lee's WonderBra a year later. The company responded to their rival with a TV campaign.[38]

1996: Brand over stretch

By 1998, Victoria's Secret's market share of the intimate apparel market was 14 percent.[39] That year Victoria's Secret also entered the $3.5 billion cosmetic market.[40]

In 1999, the company aimed to increase its coverage with Body by Victoria.[41]

Early 2000s: Decelerating growth leads to brand overhaul

In May 2000, Wexner installed Sharen Jester Turney, previously of Neiman Marcus Direct, as the new chief executive of Victoria's Secret Direct to turn around catalog sales that were lagging behind other divisions.[42][43] Forbes reported Turney articulating, as she flipped through a Victoria's Secret catalog, "We need to quit focusing on all that cleavage."[42]

In 2000, Turney began to redefine Victoria's Secret catalog from "breasts—spilling over the tops of black, purple and reptile-print underthings" to one that would appeal to an "upscale customer who now feels more comfortable buying La Perla or Wolford lingerie.";[42] "dimming the hooker looks" such as "tight jeans and stilettos"; and moving from "a substitute for Playboy in some dorm rooms," to something closer to a Vogue lifestyle layout, where lingerie, sleepwear, clothes and cosmetics appear throughout the catalog.[42]

Beginning in 2000, Grace Nichols, CEO of Victoria's Secret Direct, led a similar change at Victoria's Secret's stores - moving away from an evocation of 1800s England (or a Victorian bordello).[42]

2006–2008: Growth

By 2006, Victoria's Secret's 1,000 stores across the United States accounted for one third of all purchases in the intimate apparel industry.[44]

In May 2006, Wexner promoted Sharen Jester Turney from the Victoria's Secret catalog and online units to lead the whole company.[19] In 2008, she acknowledged "product quality that doesn't equal the brand's hype".[45]

In September 2006, Victoria's Secret reportedly tried to make their catalog feel more like magazines by head-hunting writers from Women's Wear Daily.[46]

Products and marketing

In the early 1980s, Victoria's Secret used FCB/Leber Katz Partners for the development of their brand, marketing, and advertising.[47]

In 1989, FCB/Leber Katz Partners and Victoria's Secret executed a national advertising campaign featuring for the first time in the company history a ten page glossy insert that appeared in the November issues of Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Victoria, House Beautiful, Bon Appetit, New Woman, and People magazines.[48] Victoria's Secret used the insert to announced their expansion into the toiletries and fragrance business.[48] Up through to the ten page insert, Victoria's Secret growth had been driven by their catalog, sporadic ads in fashion publications, and word of mouth.[48]

Current products


Victoria's Secret Pink Store NYC

On October 16, 2002, Victoria's Secret announced the launch of Pink, a new lingerie line targeted to 15-to-22 year olds.[49] The strategy driving Victoria's Secret's launch of Pink is to introduce the teenage girls to Victoria's Secret stores.[50] Pink sells underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, beauty products, and accessories, with the intent to transition buyers into more adult product lines, such as Angels, Very Sexy, and Body by Victoria.[51]

Pink's competition in the lingerie market for the 15–22 year old demographic includes Abercrombie & Fitch[52] and American Eagle Outfitters' Aerie.[44][49] Pink's pajamas and sweat pants were popular within the teenage and preteen set from 2006.[53] In 2009, Pink established its first four stand-alone stores in Canada. In 2010, sales at PINK reached $1 billion.

Pink has a college line that focuses brand recognition through public university athletics. Promotions for the line come from college tours, tie-ins with the music channel MTV, and social media such as Facebook and MySpace. In 2011, the line announced a partnership with all 32 NFL teams and began selling apparel containing NFL team logos and names.[54] The partnership is part of a marketing strategy for the NFL to market to teenage girls and college-aged women.[54]

In March 2013, the company mounted a marketing campaign for sexy underwear titled "Bright Young Things" directed at teen and pre-teen girls that drew considerable negative attention. The underwear contained wording including "call me", "feeling lucky", and "wild".[55] The company was accused of "sexualising" teenage girls. When the ad campaign was launched, Victoria's Secret chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer said that the line of underwear allowed "15 or 16 years old... to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college". After the criticism increased, Victoria's Secret removed the items from the company's website and said that the ad campaign was meant for college-age women.[56]


In 2002, swimwear was introduced and available via the web site and catalog; in the last three years, the swimwear has become more readily available in stores.[57]

Music CDs

With five CDs featuring romantic classical music that have sold more than one million copies each, Victoria's Secret in 1991 hired the London Symphony Orchestra to record a CD.[58]

Recent product history

In 2010, Victoria's Secret launched the Incredible bra.[59]

In 2012, Victoria's Secret launched the The Victoria's Secret Designer Collection described by Vogue as the company's "first high end lingerie line."[60]


Victoria's Secret

Over the course of Victoria's Secret's evolution, the company "has gone from being value-driven to creating a luxury-shopping experience and an aura of fashion associated with its product" which has been driven by marketing.[61]

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is an annual "elaborate marketing tool for Limited Brands".[62] The show is a mix of "beautiful models scantily clad in lingerie" and A-list entertainers "And every year, it becomes less about fashion and more about show".[62]

The company gained notoriety in the early 1990s after it began to use [63]

In 1999, Victoria's Secret's 30 second Super Bowl advertisement led to one million visits to the company's website within an hour of airing.[64]

In 2004, Victoria's Secret featured Bob Dylan in an advertisement to test new marketing possibilities while Victoria's Secret dropped their fashion show for 2004 as a result of the fallout from the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl incident that caused complaints from women's groups.[65][66][67]

The brand turned to social networking in 2009, opening an official Facebook page and later on official Twitter and Pinterest accounts. It also expanded its website to feature behind-the-scenes content about its catalog and commercial shoots, as well as its fashion show.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Beginning in 1995, Victoria's Secret began holding their annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which is broadcast on primetime American television.[68] Starting with the 1995 fashion show they are "a combination of self-assured strutting for women and voyeuristic pleasures for men—and lingerie becomes mainstream entertainment."[69]

Ken Weil, vice president at Victoria's Secret, and Tim Plzak, responsible for IT at Victoria's Secret's parent company Intimate Brands, led Victoria's Secret's first ever online streaming of their fashion show in 1999.[70] The 18 minutes webcast streamed February 2, 1999, was at the time the Internet's "biggest event" since inception.[70] The 1999 webcast was reported as a failure by a number of newspapers on account of some user's inability to watch the show featuring Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and Stephanie Seymour[71] as a result of Victoria's Secret's technology falling short being able to meet the online user demand resulting in network congestion and users who could see the webcast receiving jerky frames.[70] In all, the company's website saw over 1.5 million visits while the's computer's were designed to handle between 250,000 and 500,000 simultaneous viewers.[72] In total, 1.5 million viewers either attempted or viewed the webcast.[73]

The 1999 webcast served to create a database for Victoria's Secret of over 500,000 current and potential customers by requiring users to submit their contact details to view the webcast.[70] The next spring Victoria's Secret avoided technical issues by partnering with, America Online and Microsoft.[70] The 2000 webcast attracted more than two million viewers.[43]

By 2011, the budget for the fashion show was $12 million up from the first show's budget of $120,000.[74]

Victoria's Secret Angels

The Angels started out as one of Victoria's Secret's lingerie lines.[75] The models featured in the original advertising televised campaign in 1997 were Helena Christensen, Karen Mulder, Daniela Peštová, Stephanie Seymour, and Tyra Banks,[76] with Yasmeen Ghauri being featured in print.[77] In February 1998, the Angels made their runway debut at Victoria's Secret's 4th annual fashion show, with Chandra North filling in for Christensen.[78] Due to their growing popularity, the brand used those models in several other advertising campaigns alongside Laetitia Casta and Inés Rivero, Christensen was the first to leave the brand.[78][79] Nowadays, the term Angels refers to the brand's contracted spokeswomen, while the fashion show models are referred to as "Runway Angels". In 2004 due the Superbowl controversy, instead of a televised show, Victoria's Secret sent its 5 contract models on a tour called Angels Across America. The Angel line-up has been changed multiple times over the years, with one being officially released before each fashion show[nb 1]. The brand currently lists 8 supermodels on its website,[80] and had a Facebook application in 2013-2014 highlighting the Angels (then including Miranda Kerr and Erin Heatherton) as well as Lais Ribeiro, Toni Garrn and Barbara Palvin.[81]

Among other recognitions, the Victoria's Secret Angels were chosen to be part of People magazine's annual "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" issue in 2007[82] and became the first trademark awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 13, 2007. Other notable spokesmodels for the brand have included: Claudia Schiffer,[83] Eva Herzigová,[78] Oluchi Onweagba,[84] Jessica Stam,[85] Ana Beatriz Barros,[86] and Emanuela de Paula,[87] as well as a handful of celebrities such as Taylor Momsen.[88]

Current Victoria's Secret Angels include from left Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Doutzen Kroes, Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel, Karlie Kloss and Elsa Hosk (Lily Aldridge not pictured).
Contract[nb 2]
First hiring
Runway shows[89]
United States Stephanie Seymour 1997–2000[76] 1990[90] 1995–2000 [nb 3]
Denmark Helena Christensen 1997–1998[76][78] 1996[91] 1996–1997
Netherlands Karen Mulder 1997–2000[76] 1992[92] 1998–2000
Czech Republic Daniela Peštová 1997–2002[76] 1996[93] 1998–2001
United States Tyra Banks 1997–2005[76][94] 1996 1996–2005
United States Chandra North 1998 (replacement Angel)[95] 1998 1998 [nb 4]
Argentina Inés Rivero 1998–1999[96] 1998 1998–2001
France Laetitia Casta 1998–2000[96] 1997 1997–2000
Germany/ USA[97] Heidi Klum 1999–2010[98] 1997[98] 1997–2009 (host only in 2006) [nb 5]
Brazil Gisele Bündchen 2000–2007[99] 1999 1999–2006
Brazil/ Serbia[100] Adriana Lima 2000–present[101] 1999[102] 1999–2008, 2010–present
Brazil Alessandra Ambrosio 2004–present[103] 2000 2000–present
Czech Republic Karolína Kurková 2005–2008[104][105] 2000 2000–2008, 2010
Cayman Islands Selita Ebanks 2005–2009[106] 2004 2005–2010
Brazil Izabel Goulart 2005–2008 2004 2005–present
United States Marisa Miller 2007–2010[107][108] 2002[109] 2007–2009
Australia Miranda Kerr 2007–2013[110][111] 2005[112] 2006–2009, 2011–2012
Netherlands Doutzen Kroes 2008–present[113] 2004 2005–2006, 2008–2009, 2011–present
Namibia Behati Prinsloo 2009–present[114] 2007 2007–present
United Kingdom Rosie Huntington-Whiteley 2010–2011 2005[115] 2006–2010
South Africa Candice Swanepoel 2010–present 2007 2007–present
United States Chanel Iman 2010–2012 2008[116] 2009–2011
United States Erin Heatherton 2010–2013[98][103] 2008 2008–2013
United States Lily Aldridge 2010–present[103][117][118] 2008 2009–present
United States Lindsay Ellingson 2011–2014 2006 2007–present [nb 6]
United States Karlie Kloss 2013–present[119] 2011 2011–present
Sweden Elsa Hosk 2014–present[120] 2011 2011–present
  1. ^ There have been various instances where the fashion show credits included models who weren't Angels but were prominently featured by the brand, such as Selita Ebanks and Izabel Goulart in 2005, Candice Swanepoel, Lindsay Ellingson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Erin Heatherton and Behati Prinsloo in 2009 who all went on to become Angels as well as Lais Ribeiro in 2011 and PINK model Elsa Hosk in 2013.
  2. ^ Most Angels started working with the company years prior to signing an Angel contract. Listed above are the dates of first published or aired campaigns or, by default, first runway show or event.
  3. ^ Stephanie Seymour was a Fashion Show host in 1995
  4. ^ Chandra North was featured as an Angel solely during the 1998 fashion show due to Christensen's absence
  5. ^ Heidi Klum was a Fashion Show host in 2002, 2006–2009
  6. ^ Lindsay Ellingson was first featured on VS All Access in 2010 but was only credited as an Angel for the fashion show from the following year onward.

Pink spokesmodels

Brazil Alessandra Ambrosio 2004–2006[121]
Australia Miranda Kerr 2006–2008[122]
Namibia Behati Prinsloo 2008–2011[123][124]
USA Chanel Iman 2010–2012[125][126][127]
Sweden Elsa Hosk 2011–[128]
Australia Jessica Hart 2012–2014[129]

In 2010, Erin Heatherton and Candice Swanepoel assisted Prinsloo and Iman in launching the brand's MLB and NFL lines.[130][131][132]

Other models, such as Jessica Stam and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,[133] as well as numerous celebrities (including Ashlee Simpson[134]) have appeared at events for the brand, such as its Spring Break concerts.


Victoria's Secret is known for its catalogs and its annual fashion show, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and has been credited with single-handedly transforming "America's conception of lingerie"[16] by pioneering "sexy underwear as fashion"[31][32] and "lingerie mainstream entertainment."[69][135] The societal manifestation is "the increased cultural acceptance of shopping for undies" in the United States.[136][137]

Victoria's Secret is credited with "transforming lingerie from a slightly embarrassing taboo into an accessible, even routine accessory."[44] In 2006 The New York Times reported that traditional fashion was influenced by intimate apparel "in part because of the influence of Victoria's Secret – and ubiquitous, sexually charged come-hither marketing."[44]


In 1998 Gap launched a direct competitor to Victoria's Secret: GapBody.[138][139]

In 2008 Women's Wear Daily reported that while "Victoria's Secret dominates" in the lingerie market "the competition is intensifying".[140]

American Eagle also launched a direct competitor to Victoria's Secret, the underwear line Aerie, which is currently their biggest competitor within the younger customers.

Operating divisions

Victoria's Secret on Lexington Avenue, New York

Victoria Secret's operations are organized into three divisions: Victoria's Secret Stores (stores), Victoria's Secret Direct (online and catalog operations), and Victoria's Secret Beauty (their bath and cosmetics line). The company does business in the following retail formats: general merchandise stores, apparel stores.

Victoria's Secret stores

A store display
Victoria's Secret in Las Vegas, Nevada

Throughout the 1980s Victoria's Secret took over the market using "faux-British veneer, romantic styling and soft classical music."[39][154] In 2000 the Los Angeles Times reported that Victoria's Secret continued the practice of putting "on a British air—or what the Ohio-based chain thinks Americans believe is British. Boudoirish. Tony. Upscale."[150]

During the 1990s Victoria's Secret saw a 30% increase in store sales after the use of analyzing in their data warehouse in which specific store the styles, sizes and color of which bras were selling.[155]

As of 2010 there are 1,000 Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and 100 independent Victoria's Secret Beauty Stores in the US, mostly in shopping centers. They sell a range of brassieres, panties, hosiery, cosmetics, sleepwear, and other products. Victoria's Secret mails more than 400 million of its catalogs per year.[156]

During the 1990s store sizes grew from the average 1,400 square feet to between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet.[48] By 1989 50 stores had been updated to reflect "an English feel".[48] In 2002 the average Victoria's Secret store was 6,000 square feet.[24][49]

International expansion

Map of Victoria's Secret stores in the U.S., as of August 2011

Up until the early 2000 management at Victoria's Secret actively decided to not expand outside the United States.[61] The drive to continue growing coupled with facing a maturing of the American retail market led to a change in that decision and to expand Victoria's Secret outside the United States.[61] Victoria's Secret announced the company's plan to expand into Canada in 2010.[157] The company opened 23 stores stores in Canada with locations in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec[158] and Nova Scotia.

In November 2005, the company opened its first boutique in the UK at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5 with the help of World Duty Free.[159] This was followed in 2009 with several Victoria's Secret Travel and Tourism stores residing within airports outside the United States. These include locations in Schiphol International Airport, The Netherlands.[160][161]

Victoria's Secret opened their first store located at the Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford, London[162] on July 24, 2012.[163] Their flagship 40,386 square-foot store on New Bond Street, London opened on August 29, 2012,[164] and there will be further nationwide expansion across the UK. Victoria's Secret executive vice president and chief administrative officer Martyn R Redgrave told Women's Wear Daily "That's what we're looking to do as we expand, in the U.K. in particular, and those will be company-owned and operated".[165]

International franchises

In 2010 Victoria Secret's expanded with franchises internationally.

The first franchise store in Latin America opened in Isla Margarita, Venezuela on June 25, 2010 followed by other stores in the country, and in Bogota, Colombia, in July 2012 selling beauty products and accessories. Angel's Group, the Colombian company operating the franchise, is planning to open 10 stores in Colombia.[166] Victoria's Secret is also planning on opening a store in the exclusive Multiplaza Mall in San Salvador, El Salvador.[167]

In 2010 M.H. Alshaya Co. opened the first Victoria's Secret store in the Middle East region in Kuwait. M.H. Alshaya Co. operates the Victoria's Secret franchise located in the Marina Mall selling products including "cosmetic and branded accessories, but it has left out the brand's infamous lingerie line".[168]

The Brand's first Caribbean store opened in November 2011 at Plaza Las Americas in San Juan, Puerto Rico.[169] Two stores also opened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic at the Agora,[170] (mainly selling beauty products and accessories) and Sambil Santo Domingo[171] malls in August 2012 and October 2012, respectively.

The first Polish store is opening its doors in July 2012 at Złote Tarasy in Warsaw and will be operated by M.H. Alshaya Co. New Victoria's Secrets shop open in July 24, 2012. This will be the first Victoria's Secret franchise store in Europe, just a day before the new store in the United Kingdom. However, as this is a franchise store it sells just beauty and accessories,[172] whereas the London stores are the first company owned European stores and sell Victoria's Secret clothing.[165]

The first Serbian Victoria's Secret store will open its doors in January 2014 at the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade.[173] This will be the first Victoria's Secret store opened in ex-Yugoslavia.

Victoria's Secret Direct


Prior to the emergence of e-commerce, the Victoria's Secret's catalogs provided both an informative and exciting experience in the comfort of the consumer's home.[155]

The catalog under Raymond's leadership took the form of an upmarket version of Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie catalog being more sensuous than the catalog published under the future leadership of The Limited.[176] In 1982 the Victoria's Secret catalog cost $3.[17]

The New York Times reported that the Victoria's Secret's financial success catalogues' influenced other catalogues who changed to present lingerie as "romantic and sensual but tasteful" "in which models are photographed in ladylike poses against elegant backgrounds."[17]

This led to Victoria's Secret dominating the catalog field for "lingerie and sexy nightwear." The catalogs allowed for consumers to review the entire spectrum of product offerings, along the axes of style, color and fabric. Victoria's Secret accepted catalog orders via telephone 24 hours a day.[155]

Catalog mailing rose for twenty years from 1978 peaking at 400 million mailings annually in 1998. From 1998 through to 2002 mailings declined to 350 million annually.

Victoria's Secret's catalog offers a more diverse range of merchandise.[24]

The Los Angeles Times described the catalog in 2000 as having achieved "an almost cult-like following."[150]


In 1995 Victoria's Secret began building its e-commerce website which the company launched after three years of development at 6 p.m. December 4, 1998, using the domain[175] Twenty minutes later the first order was placed on the website from a Littleton, Colorado, customer at 6:20 p.m.[177]

It was reported that the three year development was a result of the company's concern of rolling out a half-baked website that could "discourage return visits".[175]

Viewers who logged onto the Victoria's Secret's website to view the company's first webcast of their fashion show on February 3, 1999, were unable to view the webcast due to the Internet infrastructure Victoria Secret's selected was unable to meet user demand causing some users to be unable to view the webcast.[178]

A decade later in 2008 Victoria's Secret launched their website in Spanish.

Launch of VS All Access website.

Victoria's Secret Beauty

The Limited, Inc in 1998 creates Intimate Beauty Corporation with a mandate to establish a group of beauty businesses with Victoria's Secret Beauty being the first company in the firm's portfolio.

In November 2012 Susie Coulter became president of Victoria's Secret Beauty; the company's beauty division located in New York City[179]

Corporate affairs


Prior to the 1982 sale the company's business name was Victoria's Secret, Inc. then afterwards the name was changed to Victoria's Secret Stores, Inc. In 2005 the company changed to Victoria's Secret Stores, LLC.


Victoria's Secret was originally owned by "The Limited".[180] In 2002 Wexner reincorporated Victoria's Secret into the Limited; previously Victoria's Secret's parent company was Intimate Brands, a separately traded entity whose President was Ed Razek.[19][70]

By 2006, 72% of Limited Brands' revenue—and almost all of their profits—came from their Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works units.[181]

On July 10, 2007, the Victoria's Secret parent company, Limited Brands, sold a 75% interest in their apparel brands, Limited Stores and Express to Sun Capital Partners, to focus on expanding their Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works units.[182] The immediate impact of the sale resulted in Limited Brands taking a $42 million after-tax loss.[183]

Victoria's Secret stores

In 1985, Howard Gross was promoted to president from vice president.[27] In 1991 Grace Nichols replaced Gross as president of Victoria's Secret Stores. Nichols previously had been "executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Limited's lingerie division."[184]

In 1998, Cynthia A. Fields became the president & chief executive of the company (when it was a division of Intimate Brands Inc.).[175][185]

Victoria's Secret Direct

In May 2000, Wexner installed Sharen Jester Turney, who had previously worked at Neiman Marcus Direct, as the new chief executive of Victoria's Secret Direct.[42]

Victoria's Secret Beauty

Victoria's Secret Beauty logo

In May 2006, Christine Beauchamp was named president and CEO of Victoria's Secret Beauty. Beauchamp was succeeded by Shashi Batra in 2009, who became president of Victoria's Secret Beauty.[186]

Robin Burns was CEO of Victoria's Secret Beauty.[61]

Environmental record

After two years of pressure from environmentalist groups, Victoria's Secret's parent firm and a conservation group reached an agreement to make the lingerie retailer's catalog more environmentally friendly in 2006.[187][188] The catalog would no longer be made of pulp supplied from any woodland caribou habitat range in Canada, unless it has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The catalogs will also be made of 10 percent recycled paper.[189]

The company has bought organic and fair trade-grown cotton to make some of its panties.[190][191]

Legal proceedings

On March 4, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Victoria's Secret in Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc. that there must be proof of actual harm to the trademark.[192][193]


In 2006 it was reported that Victoria's Secret paid workers $7 per day to make bras for them in Thai factories.[194]

One-tenth of all Victoria's Secret's brassieres are sourced via Intimate Fashions, a manufacturer with factories in the South Indian city of Guduvanchery.


  • 2012 - A Victoria's Secret supplier was investigated for use of child labor in harvesting cotton used to make its products.[195][196][197]
  • 2012 - Sued by Zephyrs; "has been accused of breaching a 2001 agreement and selling cheap 'knockoffs' of the company's stockings."[198]
  • 2012 - Drew criticism for a newly released lingerie collection titled "Go East" whose tagline pledged to women the capacity to "indulge in touches of eastern delight with lingerie inspired by the exquisite beauty of secret Japanese gardens."[165][199] The collection included a mesh teddy "Sexy Little Geisha" featuring "flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals". The WSJ reported that the collection was "accessorized with a miniature fan and a kimono-esque obi sash." Victoria's Secret removed the Asian-themed collection "that traded in sexualized, generic pan-Asian ethnic stereotypes."[3][200][201]

See also


  1. ^ a b Melise R. Blakeslee (January 15, 2010). Internet crimes, torts and scams: investigation and remedies. Oxford University Press.  
  2. ^ "About Limited Brands". October 10, 2012. Limited Brands. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Yang, Jeff (September 17, 2012). "Why the Rise of Asia In Fashion Isn't As Beautiful As It Seems". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
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External links

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