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Has Victoria's Secret cancelled its annual fashion show?

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Ailing lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret is expected to announce it will cancel its annual fashion extravaganza as one of its models, Shanina Shaik, said in an interview with the Telegraph that there will be no show this year.

“Unfortunately the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year,” she said. “It’s something that I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an angel.”

The news comes as the struggling lingerie brand has been faced with ongoing criticism for being out of touch with a generation that values inclusivity and diversity. According to the New York Times viewership of its annual show, which airs in December, has drastically fallen from nearly 10 million viewers in 2013 to only 3.3 million last year.

Victoria’s Secret knows it has a problem, and in May this year Leslie Wexner, the chief executive of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, said in a memo to employees that the company had been “taking a fresh look at every aspect of our business,” while noting that the brand “must evolve and change to grow”.

“With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion show,” he wrote. “Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”

A formal announcement is yet to be made

The American-based company has not made an official statement regarding the show's cancelation. Shaik in her interview reveals it is part of a "re-definition" plan of the brand, although if a complete overhaul of the brand, product and its marketing strategy is part of that plan is yet to be revealed.

Earlier this year American lingerie giant announced the closure of 53 stores, citing a "decline in performance" as the reason for the closures. The company's same-store sales dropped 3 percent during the last quarter in 2018.

Where once Victoria Secret had virtually no competitors and dominated the affordable bra market, it now faces stiff competition from brands such as Aerie and True&CO rewriting what it means to be sexy.

Behind the scenes Victoria Secret is struggling to keep its marketshare. Two years ago VS cut its swimwear and fashion businesses, and just a year ago the company announced it would close 20 stores due to poor performance.

The brand is simply not connecting and resonating with consumers in the way that it once did. Indeed, we would go so far to say that its overt sexuality, its focus on airbrushed glamour, and its dark and moody stores are completely out of step with the mood of most modern consumers.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail

While the #metoo media moment may have subsided somewhat in 2019, Victoria’s Secret has failed to retain relevance amongst shoppers. Lest not forget, In a Vogue interview last year, L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek stated he didn't think the company's annual fashion show should feature "transsexuals" because the show is a “fantasy.” He further stated “we market to whom we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.” When a social media backlash subsequently ensued, Razek offered a public apology for his insensitive comments about transgender models. Let's wait and see if public opinion will influence further changes.

Picture:Jewel Samad / AFP

Victoria's Secret