Victoria & Secret's parent company, L Brands, confirmed on Thursday that it will not air its fashion show this year after a drop in ratings and a reaction to the event in recent years.
"We believe it's important to develop the marketing of Victoria's Secret," said Stuart Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer of L Brands, in a conference call with analysts on Thursday.
Victoria & # 39; s Secret's first parade aired in 1995, but last year the parade dropped lower ratings since its inception.
"It was a very important part of branding this business and it was an important aspect of branding and a remarkable marketing achievement," Burgdoerfer said on Thursday. "We are discovering how to advance brand positioning and better communicate it to customers."
The show has generated controversy in recent years, with publications by Cosmopolitan for The Guardian calling it sexist and anti-feminist. Online lingerie startups like Third Love pointed to the show as an example of Victoria's Secret falling out of favor. And a year ago, the CEO of Third Love wrote an open letter to the company reporting "humiliating comments about women" by one of Victoria & Secret's top executives.
This was in response to a 2018 interview that Ed Razek, then chief marketing officer of L Brands, who among other things said he did not think the brand should include "transsexuals" in its program. "Why not? Because the show is a fantasy," Razek said in an interview with Vogue. "It's a 42-minute entertainment special. It's what it is."
Razek later apologized for his "insensitive" comments. He left the company earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Victoria & # 39; s Secret posted another quarter of falling sales.
The company has lost customers to competitors such as Target, Kohl's, American Eagle and lingerie startups. The leaders of Target and Kohl's have highlighted their strength in their lingerie business in recent quarters.
Victoria's Secret also dealt with the aftermath of the ties of L Brands founder and CEO Leslie Wexner with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein, whose death in prison last August was considered suicide, was former Wexner personal money manager and administrator of the Wexner Foundation, Ohio-based Wexner Charity Group. Wexner said he severed ties with Epstein in 2007.
In September, Wexner said he was "embarrassed" that he trusted Epstein.
"Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so shrewd and so depraved is something that makes me embarrassed to have come close, but that's in the past," said Wexner.
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