By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Victoria’s Secret is planning to close up to 50 stores in the U.S. and Canada this year.
The news comes as the lingerie giant saw a continuing plummet in sales during the coronavirus pandemic and closed over 200 of its stores in 2020.
On a call with analysts last year, Victoria’s Secret CEO Stuart Burgdoerfer said, “What we see is a somewhat smaller but substantially more profitable business with a much better foundation, and then obviously a return to growth which is what all of us are looking for.”
With the closures, the brand’s parent company, L Brands, will eliminate 22% of the company’s 1,091 stores in addition to 1.26 million square feet of real estate.
“We would expect to have a meaningful number of additional store closures beyond the 250 that we’re pursuing this year, meaning there will be more in 2021 and probably a bit more in 2022,” Burgdoerfer said at the time.
Alternatively, Bath & Body Works, another label under the mass retailer, is planning to open 50 stores. However, there are plans to close 20-40 of its mall stores.
L Brands had a 37% drop in sales across its brands in 2020 during its first quarter of business besides closures amid COVID-19. However, Bath & Body Works surged 20% in soap and sanitizer sales.
“What we are intensely focused on right now is strengthening the foundation of that business and even addressing the foundation of that business to manage through this crisis and to create a foundation for separation and for growth,” L Brands CEO Andrew Meslow said in a statement
Last year, Victoria’s Secret was poised to sell a 55% stake to New York-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners, but the upswing of the coronavirus pandemic lead to the deal being called off.
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