Victoria's Secret: Sex Isn’t Selling, The Lingerie Empire Risks Collapse 

The CEO of L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret division, Jan Singer, resigned last Wednesday amid a continued slowdown in sales and a lack of diversity at the line's iconic annual fashion show.

The departure comes about a week after the brand's marketing director Ed Razek, triggered outrage for saying in a Vogue interview that Victoria's Secret decided against including plus-size and transgender models in their show, which this year was held in New York on November 08 and will air on December 02 on ABC.

Judging from the location and models, it looks like the performance will be identical to last year's. And, if that is the case, the brand can expect another crash in ratings: The 2017 show had its lowest ratings ever at 5 million viewers, down 32% from the previous year.

Number of viewers of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in the US from 2014 to 2017 (in millions) 

The collapse of Victoria’s Secret is remnants of an increasingly bygone era.

When it comes to lingerie today, women often look to other women designers rather than settle for sexy styles at Victoria’s Secret.

"Once a trendsetter with a powerful brand identity, the lingerie retailer has struggled to evolve as customers gravitate toward rivals—including a number of startups—offering comfort and ease, not airbrushed fantasy," observes WSJ.

Take, for example, Savage x Fenty lingerie line, Rihanna has been years ahead of most designers, filling her fashion shows with all different types of races, pregnant women, and plus-size models. 

Women are also increasingly turning to the bra brand ThirdLove, which is exploding in sales and could reach $160 million this year. The secret: The company offers comfortable bras based on specific measurements, not sexy fantasy land models. 

ThirdLove co-CEO Heidi Zak took out a full-page ad in the New York Times Sunday to criticize Victoria’s Secret's refusal to acknowledge that its customers come in every shape and size. 

For decades, Victoria’s Secret sold it's customers the fantasy that they too could look as sexy as the models, but a new trend called the body-positivity movement, an acceptance, and appreciation of all human body types, has been embraced by millennials and threatens to upend the lingerie empire.

So it comes as no surprise that Victoria’s Secret and similar brands are now failing; neither their image nor their clothing reflects the bodies or desires of the American consumer. 

With that said, shares of L Brands, whose main businesses are Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, have collapsed 41% this year. That is mostly due to rapidly declining sales at Victoria’s Secret, particularly of bras, which make up 35% of L Brands’s sales.

In the first half of 2018, L Brand stabilized Victoria's Secret through expansion channels into China. 

Some critics say its issues come because the brand and its models have not correctly adapted to the changing market demands. 

Jefferies equity analyst Randal Konik detailed in a note to investors, “The problem is the brand is not resonating with consumers, its pricing power is gone, its market share is under permanent attack, and the business is over-stored.”

L Brands, which reports 3Q earnings after the close on Monday, has seen its stock collapse 74% from November 2015 highs. After the company released October sales that showed a 4% comparable-sales increase over the same period last year, the stock stabilized in the 26 to 35 range. But most of the sales growth was due to Bath & Body Works; Victoria’s Secret’s sales were horrible.

Coupled with consumers abandoning malls, where the retailer is massively exposed, that means sales are going to continue dropping.