People are mocking Victoria's Secret's failure to embrace plus-size and transgender women after the lingerie brand announced plans to close dozens of stores

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesVictoria’s Secret has been criticised for its racy ads and noninclusive marketing.
  • Victoria’s Secret on Thursday announced plans to close as many as 53 stores this year, citing a “decline in performance.”
  • Critics of the brand linked the closures to Victoria’s Secret’s failure to embrace plus-size and transgender women.
  • In November, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, said the brand would not feature plus-size and transgender models in its annual fashion show because the show is a “fantasy.”
  • “Experts say Victoria’s Secret’s troubles came because they relied too heavily on push-up bras and celebrity models,” Bette Midler tweeted on Thursday. “But is it that weird that women didn’t want to shop at a store with the personality of a lecherous rich guy?”

Plans to close dozens of Victoria’s Secret stores across the US have sparked mockery and celebration, as critics shamed the lingerie giant for failing to embrace plus-size and transgender women.

On Thursday, Victoria’s Secret said it planned to close as many as 53 stores this year, citing a “decline in performance.” Same-store sales of the lingerie brand were down 3% during the quarter and overall in 2018.


Read more:
Victoria’s Secret is closing dozens of stores

Several people connected the closures to Victoria’s Secret’s struggles to adapt to modern trends. The brand has been criticised for its hypersexualized ads and racy runway shows that have failed to resonate with many people in recent years.

“Experts say Victoria’s Secret’s troubles came because they relied too heavily on push-up bras and celebrity models,” the actress and singer Bette Midler tweeted. “But is it that weird that women didn’t want to shop at a store with the personality of a lecherous rich guy?”

Others shared similar criticisms of the brand, and some people celebrated.

https://twitter.com/fatfemmfatale/status/1101226771884711936?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

https://twitter.com/Suzycarmichael_/status/1101269294879571968?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

“I see you’ll be closing some stores this year,” one person commented on Victoria’s Secret’s Facebook page. “Maybe if you guys were willing to carry some larger sizes you wouldn’t be in this boat.”

“The secret is out. You don’t like fat people lol,” another said. “In all seriousness can you please get some plus size in there?? Your stores would be booming!”

In November, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, said in an interview with Vogue that Victoria’s Secret would not add larger sizes and had no plans to feature plus-size models and “transsexuals” in its runway show because the show is a “fantasy.”

“It’s a 42-minute entertainment special,” he said. “That’s what it is.”


Read more:
‘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

Victoria’s Secret faced swift backlash over Razek’s comments, prompting Razek to issue a formal apology.

The fashion show’s ratings also took a hit. According to ABC, the network that ran the show, 3.3 million people tuned in when it aired on December 2, down from about 5 million viewers in 2017 and 6.7 million in 2016, when it aired on CBS.

As Victoria’s Secret’s sales are declining, brands better known for advocating body positivity, such as American Eagle’s Aerie and ThirdLove – which has become increasingly critical of Victoria’s Secret – have gained market share.

American Eagle reported a 32% increase in same-store sales at Aerie in the third quarter of 2018, marking its 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. During a call with investors after the earnings release, its CEO, Jay Schottenstein, described this as among the company’s best results.

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