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Victoria Secret

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The Silky Strategy of Victoria’s Secret

Chelsea Chi Chang Alice Lin Charlene Mak

BEM 106: Strategy Professor McAfee 28 May 2004

1 Victoria's Secret is a retail brand of lingerie and beauty products, owned and run by the Limited Brands company. Victoria’s Secret generates more than $4 billion in sales a year. It is the fastest growing subsidiary of Limited Brands and contributes 42% of corporate profits. More than 1000 Victoria's Secret retail stores are open in the United States. Products are also available through the catalogue and online business, Victoria's Secret Direct, with sales of approximately $870 million. Victoria’s Secret was established by Roy Raymond in the San Francisco area during the 1970s. Raymond saw an opportunity in taking “underwear” of the time and turning it into fashion. Products stood apart from the traditional white cotton pieces, which department stores offered, with colors, patterns and style that gave them more allure and sexiness. They combined European elegance and luxury. Even the name Victoria’s Secret was meant to conjure up images of 19th-century England. The store went so far as to list a fake London address for the company headquarters. Like Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret markets self-indulgence at an affordable price. By 1982, Raymond had opened six stores and launched a modest catalog operation. He then sold Victoria’s Secret to Limited Brands, which took Victoria’s and sprinted away. Today, Victoria’s Secret enjoys nearly a monopoly position on the retail of intimate apparel in the US. The typical bra that once sold for $15 at Victoria’s Secret, when the company first opened and was worried about competition, now sells for just under $30. Bath and Body, another subsidiary of Limited Brands has seen the entrance of The Body Shop, which has essentially the same products but with an environmental slant that attracts...

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