In the letter, Barington Capital argues that improved merchandising and fresh branding would help the struggling Victoria’s Secret brand. The hedge fund says Victoria’s Secret was late to the athleisure trend and missed the shift toward bralettes and sports bras.
“Victoria’s Secret’s brand image is starting to appear to many as being outdated and even a bit ‘tone deaf’ by failing to be aligned with women‘s evolving attitudes towards beauty, diversity and inclusion,” Barington writes in the letter.
L Brands said last month it plans to close roughly 53 Victoria’s Secret stores in 2019. Comparable store sales for Bath Body Works, known for its scented lotions and candles, rose 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The hedge fund said it is encouraged by Victoria’s Secret’s recent reentry to the swimwear category. The letter notes while the brand has improved diversity in its advertising campaigns, it still uses models that “depict a very narrow definition of beauty.”
In a statement, L Brands said it “welcomes open communications with our shareholders and values input that may advance our goal of enhancing shareholder value.”
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