Victoria’s Secret has long been known for its heavily padded bras.
But this spring, it took a turn and started selling bralettes: the latest trend in the bra industry.
This — coupled with the rise of athleisure and sports bras — could spell trouble for the brand, The Wall Street Journal reports.
It’s two fold: one, The Wall Street Journal points out that bralettes are cheaper than their padded counterparts, hovering around $20, versus a more expensive regular bra. Sports are slightly more expensive than that, and the Wall Street Journal points out that if people are buying more less expensive apparel, that will damage the company’s overall sales. In its most recent fiscal year, it amassed nearly $7.7 billion in total sales.
On top of that, it’s particularly easy to make a bralette; almost any brand could do it.
“There are no barriers to entering in the bralette game,” Gabriella Santaniello, analyst and founder of consulting firm A-Line Partners, said to Business Insider in April. She cited multiple companies selling bralettes, from Aerie to Urban Outfitters.
These other companies also have an au natural look more innately built into their brand DNAs.
“You have these other brands that are less so overtly sexy and much more focused on being natural,” said Nomura analyst Simeon Siegel said to The Wall Street Journal. “It’s too early to say it will steal a dramatic share from Victoria’s Secret but it’s not too early to say that there’s a real consumer preference for it.”
Victoria’s Secret has been trying to appeal to that preference with a marketing campaign that declares that “no padding is sexy.” However, consumers are used to the company hawking heavily padded bras and curvaceous bodies; it sends a mixed message.
— Victoria’s Secret (@VictoriasSecret) April 12, 2016
Some consumers were irritated at the brand’s sudden drastic change. Some weren’t happy that the company was inherently suggesting that only people that could wear un-padded bras could be a part of this new “sexy” trend.
Victoria’s Secret saying that no padding is sexy..after years of sewing 4 inches of foam into every bra made. lol bye
— Josie Hogan (@josie_hogan) May 5, 2016
I love seeing the Victoria’s Secret ad about their bralette where it says ‘no padding needed’ like lmao tell that to the DD’s on my chest
— BBK (@ktexasangel) May 5, 2016
Victoria’s Secret “No Padding is Sexy NOW” bralettes are ridiculous. LOL literally no women over a B cup could wear those ????
— Becky Hartzler (@BeckyHartzler) May 5, 2016
In the meantime, the company is in the middle of lots of changes.
It nixed its swimwear sector to zero in on athleisure, as BuzzFeed reported earlier this year. While the payoff is supposed to big down the line, right now, the company is balking to retail’s most dangerous trend — lots of promotions and mark downs — while it clears out inventory from the categories it’s killing off.
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