'We market to who we sell to, and we don't market to the whole world': Victoria's Secret fires back at critics who say it excludes plus-size shoppers
- A senior executive at Victoria's Secret's parent company said that the brand has no plans to cater to the plus-size customer during a recent interview with Vogue.
- The brand has frequently come under fire for excluding plus-size customers from its ad campaigns and only featuring rail-thin models.
- That is to its detriment, analysts say. Victoria's Secret was once the kingpin of the US lingerie market but in recent years has lost market share to more body-positive brands such as Amercian Eagle's Aerie.
Victoria's Secret has no plans to woo plus-size shoppers.
In a recent interview with Vogue, Ed Rosek, chief marketing officer at Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands, said that the store would not be adding larger sizes to its assortment and has no plans to feature plus-size models in its runway show. Victoria's Secret currently stocks bra sizes 30A to 40DDD."If you're asking if we've considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant," Rosek said to Vogue.
Lane Bryant was formerly owned by L Brands but was bought by Charming Shoppes in 2001 and is now part of Ascena Retail Group.
"Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don't market to the whole world," Rosek said.
Victoria's Secret has frequently come under fire for excluding plus-size customers and only featuring rail-thin models in its ad campaigns.
That is to its detriment, analysts say. The store was once the kingpin of the US lingerie market, but in recent years it has lost market share to more body-positive brands such as American Eagle's Aerie, which has seen explosive growth in recent years. While Aerie does also not stock plus sizes, it has doubled down on its efforts to become more body-inclusive by ditching photoshopped images and partnering with women activists to promote female empowerment.
Victoria's Secret's annual fashion show, which was filmed on Thursday and will air on December 2, is the subject of much of this criticism.Last November, plus-size model Ashley Graham posted a doctored Instagram of herself with angel wings and a sarcastic caption that read: "Got my wings!" But despite the subsequent outcry online, Victoria's Secret has still failed to cater to plus-size customers.
"VS' fashion show illustrates how out of touch the brand still is," Jefferies analyst Randal Konik wrote in a note sent out to clients this week.
He continued: "With TV ratings that have been in free fall for years and a consumer that no longer resonates with 'supermodels' we question why the company continues to hold the show. We expect ratings to continue their decline this year and the Victoria's Secret brand to lose mindshare."
Despite this, Rosek said there are no plans to change what has been a tradition for over two decades.
"We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don't," he said.