Victoria's Secret exec says that the brand's extravagant fashion shows didn't give it a significant sales boost

victorias secret fashion show angelsAP Images

The CFO of Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands made two big revelations during an earnings call with analysts on Thursday.

First, he confirmed that Victoria's Secret is officially canceling its 2019 runway show after months of speculation. Second, he said that the glitzy show, which costs millions of dollars to put on each year, doesn't actually translate into as many sales as you might expect for the brand.

CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer responded to an analyst's question about how its lack of marketing through the holiday season, specifically the lack of a runway show, would impact the brand.

"In terms of in a granular way, specifically as timing over the years shifted in terms of the airing of the fashion show, did we see specific material impact on short term sales response to the airing of the fashion show? As a general matter, the answer to that question is no," he said.

"So if you're like, 'oh my God, Stuart, are you freaked out about the day after the fashion show result and what's going to happen,' it did air at different times over the years and we didn't see a material impact on the next few days' results," he said.

A representative for L Brands did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment. The company does not release sales data that could show how impactful the fashion show was, but in the past three years same-store sales for the brand have declined during the fourth quarter, indicating that it hasn't quite been having the intended impact.

The fashion show first ran in 1995 and was organized by Ed Razek, the longtime chief marketing officer of L Brands who resigned from the company in August. Razek had faced ongoing scrutiny after he made controversial comments about plus-size and transgender models in an interview with Vogue.

Razek and his team were responsible for hand-picking the models to walk the show. Because of this, he became one of the most important people in the modeling world, helping to launch the careers of Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum.

In its heyday, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was one of the most hotly anticipated fashion events of the year. When it aired online for the first time in 1999, Time described it as the "internet-breaking moment" of the era as 1.5 million viewers tried to tune in and crashed the site.

But it was also an expensive affair to put on - previous shows were rumored to cost as much as $12 million and $20 million. The company likely recouped some of these costs through sponsorship deals and by licensing the show to a TV network, however.

The buzz around the show has faded in the past few years, however. Customers have complained that its image is outdated, and viewership numbers have gradually sagged, leaving critics wondering why Victoria's Secret was still making the effort to put it on.

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