Victoria’s Secret CEO Jan Singer stepping down

Jan Singer. Source: LinkedIn

Victoria’s Secret chief executive Jan Singer has resigned, according to widespread media reports on Thursday. Singer joined the company two years ago from Spanx, where she was CEO.

The news comes after a recent controversy over statements that Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands, made about the lack of plus-size and transgender models in the lingerie retailer’s famed fashion shows.

Razek, who is part of the casting team, said the company had considered putting plus-sized models and transgenders in the show but had not acted on it, since the company “did not market to the whole world.”

Following the backlash last week, Razek released a statement on Twitter, which read: “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it.”

It is unclear why Singer resigned, or who will replace her. Victoria’s Secret and L Brands had not commented to any media at the time of this writing.

Local growth

Victoria’s Secret is set to open its first full-range store in Australia at Chadstone shopping centre before the end of the year.

The Chadstone store, like the current network of 21 Victoria’s Secret stores in Australia, which carry a limited range of beauty, fragrance and accessories, is owned by Valiram, a Malaysia-based franchisee.

While the news has generated a good deal of buzz Down Under, Victoria’s Secret stores in the US seem to have lost traction with consumers. Comparable sales in the US and Canada grew just 1 per cent in the five weeks ended October 6, 2018, compared to the previous corresponding period.

If you exclude direct sales and only measure company-owned bricks-and-mortar stores, comparable sales actually fell 2 per cent. Most troubling of all, teen-focused lingerie and loungewear brand, Pink, saw comparable store sales growth fall to the low-to-mid single digits in Q2 FY18.

Some have speculated that Victoria’s Secret’s lacklustre performance is due to the dissonance between its brand image and the #metoo era of female empowerment, or perhaps to discounting fatigue. But whatever the reason, it may not necessarily translate to the local market.

“They have tremendous growth prospects outside the US, not just Australia but in Asia. Their product mix is really good, and they do very good stores,” Michael Baker, a retail consultant who has spent time in the US and Asia, told IR last month.

“They have a really big product line, they’re big into sportswear. They’ve got a lot more stuff to put into stores in Asia and Australia than we have seen so far,” he said.

L Brands, is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on November 21.

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.