The CEO of the parent company for Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and other stores is in talks to step down from the top post, according to a media report.
The Wall Street Journal also said Wednesday that L Brands is considering strategic options for Victoria’s Secret that could include a full or partial sale of the lingerie business, citing people familiar with the matter.
The newspaper said L Brands is seeking to reach a decision on succession plans and a possible Victoria’s Secret transaction “in the coming weeks,” but there’s no guarantee a deal will be made.
The reported talks come as Victoria’s Secret’s overtly sexy style has clashed with a new attitude from young women who want more inclusive fits. And it’s facing increasing competition from lingerie online natives like Adore Me and ThirdLove, which use more diverse models and offer more comfortable styles. While Victoria’s Secret has made some moves to change its marketing, the efforts haven’t been enough to stop sales declines. During the holiday season, Victoria’s Secret suffered a 12% drop in same-store sales.
Randal Konik of Jefferies said in an analyst note that he agreed that a “fresh perspective would likely be a positive in ‘righting the ship,’” but that there’s still significant challenges ahead for Victoria’s Secret, including increased competition and the brand relying heavily on promotions.
Billionaire Leslie Wexner is the longest-serving CEO of an S&P 500 company, having served as CEO for more than five decades. He founded what would eventually become L Brands in 1963 with one The Limited retail store, according to the company’s website. Wexner owns approximately 16.71% of L Brands, according to FactSet.
Last year Wexner accused Jeffrey Epstein of misappropriating “vast sums” of his fortune while managing his personal finances more than a decade ago.
L Brands Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, said Wednesday that it doesn’t comment on rumors.
The company’s stock surged nearly 13% at the opening of regular trading Wednesday.