Limited Brands (L Brands) was founded in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio, by Leslie H. Wexner. The company was a specialty retailer which focused on lingerie, beauty, and personal care products. L brands' main two brands were Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. From 2006 to 2019, L Brands also owned La Senza, another bra and lingerie company. In 2019, L Brands also closed all stores and the website of accessories brand Henri Bendel. In 2021, Limited Brands separated. Victoria's Secret & Co, made up of all the Victoria's Secret brands, became an independent, public company. L Brands became Bath & Body Works, Inc.
Up until 2020, Victoria's Secret was the biggest brand within this company's portfolio. Victoria's Secret markets products, such as bras, panties, clothing, accessories, fragrances, lotions, cosmetics, swimwear, and athletic attire. They market their products through two segments: Victoria's Secret stores and Victoria's Secret Direct (web and catalogue), which sells to customers in over 200 countries.
In 2020, the company's global net sales amounted to approximately 11.8 billion U.S. dollars. Of this total, Bath and Body Works generated 6.4 billion dollars. This represents continual growth over the past decade. After years of leading Bath and Body Works in sales, Victoria's Secret's net sales fell to 5.4 billion dollars. Even before the negative impact of the coronavirus, Victoria's Secret's sales had stagnated since 2016.
Bath & Body Works
The differing fortunes of the two brands were also reflected in L Brands' store numbers. As of 2020, there were 1,633 Bath & Body Works stores operating in the United States, whereas major store closures left Victoria's Secret with 846 stores. Whilst L Brands was struggling to get Victoria's Secret to compete successfully, Bath & Body Works steadily grew.
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Research expert covering apparel industry and general merchandise