Victoria’s Secret to get back in the swimwear business

Victoria’s Secret to add swimwear, boots and sunglasses in effort to revive brand.

Victoria’s Secret is getting back into swimwear.

The retailer told analysts on November 20 conference that it will re-enter the business by spring as part of a move to rejuvenate the struggling brand.

That is not all. Victoria’s Secret also said it has started selling boots and plans to sell sunglasses.

“We are developing our plans in detail; nothing more to share today,” said Stuart Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer of Victoria Secret’s operator L Brands. “But again, a very important decision to re-enter some important businesses and pursue other growth initiatives through a licensing approach.”

The decision to get back into swimwear is driven primarily by what customers are telling the company, Burgdoerfer said. “You can look back and learn, but I’m not going to go into that at length,” he said. “The decision at that time was to focus our energy and our resources on our most critical categories, that being bras and panties at Victoria’s Secret lingerie. But as we evaluate the situation today, a very important decision and we believe a good one to re-enter the swim business again driven principally by customer feedback that we’ve received.”

On November 19, L Brands announced a new CEO for Victoria’s Secret. John Mehas, president of Tory Burch, will replace Jan Singer, who has resigned.

L Brands announced in 2016 that it was leaving the swimwear, apparel, shoes, accessories and other lines of business as part of an effort to simplify its merchandise lines and accelerate growth.

Since then, shares of L Brands have tumbled sharply and analysts have questioned the wisdom of dumping swimwear and apparel, categories that provided USD 525 million in annual sales.

Back in the spring, the retailer said it was having second thoughts about the move, acknowledging that the decision was hurting business.

Burgdoerfer told analysts that the retailer is “taking a fresh, hard look at everything.”