"We have to acknowledge the challenging environment," says Sharen Jester Turney, CEO and president of the Victoria's Secret Megabrand and Intimate Apparel, speaking to investors in a meeting that was webcast. "But we've strengthened our brand. Our focus is on delivering superior emotional content, and we won't be distracted from that--no matter what the environment is."
Saying that the brand beat its expectations for spring, she says it is headed into the holiday season with "one of our best assortments-- and best channel experiences--ever. We'll be delivering newness and superior emotional content, both in products and in experience."
Earlier this year, Turney conceded that VS had become too young, and too sexy. Since then, the company has built on its core positioning as a leader in bras, focusing on research that shows most American women see themselves as on a never-ending quest for a bra that fits correctly. Among the new offerings are the All-New Miracle Bra, with more pushup than ever, and the BioFit Lace bra. "We've also reinvented sleepwear to make it more sophisticated, and between 20 and 30% of our beauty assortment is entirely new," she says.
In addition, "we've achieved a major milestone in launching the entire site in Spanish. We know our brand has global appeal, and this will better serve Spanish-speaking customers in the U.S. and around the world, reaching an audience we already know loves us."
Like many retailers, Victoria's Secret has been squeezed by mall-averse consumers, who are cutting back on clothing purchases, and it has posted more than a year straight of monthly sales declines.
Turney says the chain--a division of Limited Brands, based in Columbus, Ohio--is in an enviable position, "and one of the most dominant and desirable brands in the world. We are the industry leader in bras and panties," she says. "We are the authority on sexy."
In the coming months, she says, the chain will continue to explore new avenues in swimwear, lifestyle lingerie, higher-end beauty products, VSX, and its sport line, as well as gifting and accessories.