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Victoria’s Secret flies solo—and soars

The news: After spinning off from parent company L Brands on August 3, Victoria’s Secret looks to rehabilitate its image with Wall Street and consumers alike.

How we got here: For years, the brand has been accused of being tone-deaf to cultural shifts, in everything from its marketing to its product lines. Recently, the brand attempted to refresh its image in a number of ways:

  • Improving female representation on its board of directors: Six of the seven members are female, including the chair
  • Replacing its “Angels” supermodels with the “VS Collective,” a diverse group of brand ambassadors including soccer star Megan Rapinoe and actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas

The initial results seem promising:

  • Victoria’s Secret saw higher sales in its first fiscal quarter this year than in the same period in 2019, despite having shuttered 241 stores last year and reduced marketing expenditures.
  • Its adjusted operating margins jumped from 1% in 2019 to 15% in the new entity’s first fiscal quarter of 2021. Its shares are up more than 50% since it started trading last Tuesday at $45.99 a share, leaving the standalone company with a market capitalization of about $6 billion.

Why it’s worth watching: Lingerie competitors like American Eagle’s Aerie and ThirdLove may have thought the industry titan was down for the count, but if anything, there are signs that Victoria’s Secret may be resurgent.