The owner of Victoria’s Secret announced this week it is are closing 250 stores, with more likely coming over the next few years.
Victoria’s Secret was already struggling with sales before the pandemic. L Brands, its owner, also owns Bath and Body Works but plans to separate the lingerie chain into its own company. First, it needs to make the 42-year-old mall staple more profitable.
“Closing 250 stores is a big deal,” said interim Victoria’s Secret CEO Stuart Burgdoerfer in a call with investors and analysts Thursday. “We are initiating conversations with landlords as a result of that.”
Burgdoerfer also said the chain would continue closing locations in the future to better manage its real estate and overall profits. Burgdoerfer didn’t give specific numbers about those future closings and the company still hasn’t said which locations are among those already set to shutter.
Victoria’s Secret operates about 85 locations in Florida alone. Tampa Bay mall’s are home to at least nine of those stores, from Westshore Countryside in Clearwater to the Gulfview Square in Port Richey. Some of those locations are also close to each other: Tampa’s WestShore Plaza and nearby International Plaza have Victoria’s Secret stores.
As of May 2, Victoria’s Secret had about 1,033 locations in the United States, including its standalone PINK stores, according to documents shared with investors. The 250 stores closing are all in North American and could include some of the 37 stores the chain has in Canada.
“There is more to come,” Burgdoerfer said of changes to Victoria’s Secret, including expanding its online business. “What we see is a somewhat smaller but substantially more profitable business with a much better foundation.”
Burgdoerfer said on the call he expects Victoria’s Secret stores, minus those staying closed, to reopen by the end of July.
L Brands also announced it would be closing about 50 of its Bath and Body Works locations, which is about 3 percent of its North American business
L Brands’ net sales dropped by nearly $1 billion during the first quarter, ending May 2, compared to the same period last year.
The share price for L Brands was up 18.3 percent at $14.46 at the close of trading Thursday.