VIRGINIA —Victoria’s Secret will permanently close about 250 stores in the United States and Canada by the end of this year, parent company L Brands announced this week.
Also slated for closure are 50 Bath & Body Works locations. The news came this week after L Brands posted its quarterly earnings online.
Victoria’s Secret, a popular women’s lingerie retailer, has 1,091 stores in the United States and Canada. L Brands said it will close 235 U.S. Victoria’s Secret and three Pink stores. It also plans to close 13 of its 38 stores in Canada.
While the company has yet to name which stores it plans to close, Virginia has more than 20 Victoria’s Secret locations that could be on the list:
- Colonial Heights
- Newport News
- Prince William
- Virginia Beach
Victoria’s Secret reported net sales of $1.65 billion for the first quarter of 2020, compared with $2.6 billion for the same quarter last year. In a call with analysts, Interim Victoria’s Secret CEO Stuart Burgdoerfer said the closings will occur over the next several months. Additional closings are anticipated, reported.
While store sales were down Bath & Body Works compared with last year, L Brands reported "sales increased meaningfully prior to closing all stores in mid-March, driven largely by significant increase in demand for hand soaps and sanitizers." Direct sales grew by 85 percent in the first quarter compared with a 40 percent increase the year before and are at "record productivity" levels "to meet the significant and unplanned increase in demand."
L Brands said in a news release that it "remains committed to establishing Bath & Body Works as a pure-play public company and is taking the necessary steps to prepare the Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and PINK businesses to operate as a separate, standalone company."
In February, L Brands was prepared to sell a majority stake of Victoria’s Secret to Sycamore Partners, a deal that would have spun off the Victoria's Secret brand — made up of Victoria's Secret Lingerie, Victoria's Secret Beauty, and PINK — into a separate, standalone company.
However, the companies agreed to terminate the sale after L Brands was forced to impose furloughs and mass store closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Ending the agreement also avoided a lawsuit by Sycamore Partners, which had accused L Brands of breach of contract.
Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works are the latest in a series of retail closures prompted by dwindling revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Pier 1 Imports and J.C. Penney both announced the companies would file for bankruptcy. While J.C. Penney plans to close about 240 stores, Pier 1 will close all locations. Earlier this month, luxury department store Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy after furloughing 14,000 employees and temporarily closing its 43 stores.
— By Patch editors Megan VerHelst and Elizabeth Janney