Victoria’s Secret is making its debut on the public market.
On Monday, the lingerie business, along with Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Pink, officially separated from Bath & Body Works to be its own public company on the New York Stock Exchange. Company shares of Victoria’s Secret, which started off around $45 a piece Monday morning, jump nearly 5 percent at the start of the session.
Once part of L Brands — which includes the Bath & Body Works brand — Victoria’s Secret is now Victoria’s Secret & Co. and trades under the stock ticker “VSCO.” L Brands Inc., meanwhile, was renamed Bath & Body Works Inc., with the stock ticker going from “LB” to “BBWI.”
The spin-off is part of the retailer’s greater growth strategy, after last year’s plans to sell off the Lingerie, Beauty and Pink divisions fell through amid the pandemic. The company has said the spin-off will unlock value in the lucrative soap and hand sanitizer brand, while also helping the lingerie division win back consumers and market share, which have been dwindling in the last few years thanks to shifts in consumer preferences toward more comfortable and inclusive looks.
Victoria’s Secret, once known for its overtly sexual Angels, has also hired plus-size and transgender models, added more comfortable styles to the assortment, including athleisure, reintroduced swimwear into the mix, canceled its high-profile fashion show and is now in the process of updating its store fleet to reflect a changing image.
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The brand also filed for credit protection of its U.K. business in June 2020 to help curb costs. The move was followed by a joint venture with Next plc three months later where Next became the majority stakeholder of the 25 U.K. and Ireland-based stores. (Victoria’s Secret U.K. recently went into liquidation.)
But Stateside, growth plans seem to be working. Shares of L Brands, which closed 0.59 percent Friday to $80.07 a piece, are up approximately 228 percent, year-over-year. Consumers seemed to be swayed, too — at least some of them. Revenues at the innerwear brand topped $1.5 billion in the most recent quarter.
Last month, the company also revealed a mid-quarter earnings update, with net sales increasing by nearly a billion dollars in the nine weeks ending July 9, compared with the same time a year earlier. Victoria’s Secret’s revenues were more than $1.1 billion, compared with $625 million last year. Sales during the first nine weeks of the current quarter also surpass 2019’s pre-pandemic sales of $2.1 billion by 12 percent thanks to better-than-expected merchandise margin rates, disciplined inventory management, reduced promotional activity and positive consumer response to the updated assortment.
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