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Victoria’s Secret SWOT Analysis: Company Overview

Victoria’s Secret is one of the leading retailers specializing in bras, panties, lingerie, pajamas, and beauty and care products. The company has many physical stores in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America and delivery to almost anywhere in the world. The Victoria’s Secret brand is known worldwide both for high-quality, beautiful, and diverse products for customers of different body constitutions and for fashion shows with the participation of Victoria’s Angels, the best fashion models. Moreover, for these reasons, Victoria’s Secrets lingerie is considered prestigious, since its quality, brand, and price differ from mass-market clothing.

Financial Performance Overview

The company has shown a decline in financial performance in recent years. The company reported $ 5,413 million in net sales in 2020 compared to $ 7,509 million in 2019 (L Brands, Inc., 2021). The profit of Victoria’s Secret as a percentage of other brands of the company L Brand, Inc., to which it belongs, is 1% (L Brands, Inc., 2021). This decline is associated with the pandemic, as well as the closure of some of the Victoria’s Secret stores. However, Victoria’s Secret sales in the first quarter of 2021 are higher at $ 1.55 billion compared to the same period last year (Rozario, 2021). These metrics can signify the right choice of strategy and the restoration of the company’s performance.

Key Company Information

Victoria’s Secret Key Information
Corporate HQ Address 5 Limited Parkway, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, U.S. Number of Employees 1,974
URL www.lb.com
www.victoriassecret.com
Fiscal Year End January
Industry Clothing Accessories Revenue (in USD Million) $5,413
Locations Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Curacao, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, , Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guam, India, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam.

SWOT Analysis

Victoria’s Secret SWOT Analysis
Strengths Weaknesses
  1. Strong marketing strategy
  2. Organic materials and eco-friendly initiatives
  1. Misogyny accusation
  2. Lack of inclusion and representation of people with different body types, features, and needs.
Opportunities Threats
  1. Expansion of the product range
  2. Use of new environmentally friendly materials
  1. High level of competition
  2. Cheap imitations of the brand’s products

SWOT Analysis – Overview

Victoria’s Secret, like any other company, has its disadvantages and advantages that must be considered when planning development strategies. The main strength of the company is a strong marketing strategy that uses some uncommon advertising channels. In addition, the company uses organic materials to create products and promotes sustainable initiatives that represent it as a socially responsible organization and attract customers. However, the accusation of misogyny, the formation of implausible beauty standards, and a limited range of products for women of different sizes and needs are Victoria’s Secret’s weaknesses that have drawn criticism. Nevertheless, these shortcomings also enable the company to expand its product range by increasing the number of products of different sizes and forms, as well as creating more sustainable products. Taking advantage of these opportunities will also help the company mitigate threats such as high competition in the industry and the creation of imitations by small companies that negatively affect brand and sales.

Victoria’s Secret – Strengths

Victoria’s Secret’s marketing strategy is different from the approaches of most retailers, as the brand positions itself as premium clothing, which partially restricts advertising channels, for example, TV. However, the company’s approaches are more effective as they enhance the brand’s status and bring it worldwide fame. Firstly, Victoria’s Secret holds a fashion show every year, presenting the latest innovations and organizing an impressive performance. This show is broadcast by most fashion media and magazines, and the most famous models are involved in the work. This feature allows the company to attract the attention of the public, as well as increase brand recognizability.

Secondly, the company attracts celebrity ambassadors who draw attention to the brand and demonstrate its quality. This approach is especially relevant for social networks, since the top models representing the brand usually have millions of followers. For example, in 2021, Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe, and Valentina Sampaio became brand ambassadors (Pettinicchio & Foster, 2021). In this way, the company gains consumer trust through the influence of famous people. Another approach, which is not very visible to the public, but still affects the status of the brand, is the mention of Victoria’s Secret in films. For example, the brand name sounds or is portrayed in films such as Terminator and Rush Hour, as well as in the series Office, Sex and the City, and How I Met Your Mother. While viewers may not remember this detail, they subconsciously assimilate the information, which affects their perception of the brand. Thus, Victoria’s Secret offers unobtrusive advertising that increases brand awareness, status, and customers’ trust.

Organic materials and eco-friendly initiatives

Victoria’s Secret is involved in many environmental initiatives that enhance its image and attract customers. For example, the company has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which promotes sustainable and ecological initiatives across the supply chain (“Sustainability,” n.d). Thus, the company only works with suppliers who use sustainable methods to make artificial cellulosic fabrics, thereby reducing deforestation (Caligiuri, 2017). Other examples include donating a dollar for every Pink’s item sells for tree planting, recycles bottles, and makes more than half of its packaging, bags, and prints from sustainable and recyclable materials (“Sustainability,” n.d). This approach presents the company as socially responsible, which increases its attractiveness to customers.

Moreover, the company uses organic materials to make products, which are not only environmentally friendly but also comfortable for customers. For example, most Victoria’s Secret lingerie is made from cotton rather than synthetics, which is more comfortable and healthier for the skin (Ell, 2020). Since the underwear is designed to cover the most sensitive parts of the body, this approach shows the company’s care for its customers. Thus, since environmental protection is a trend and a necessity in the modern world, Victoria’s Secret creates a competitive advantage for itself with its initiatives.

Victoria’s Secret – Weaknesses

Recently, the media published articles that accused the company’s management of misogyny and harassment towards models and employees. For example, Silver-Greenberg et al. (2020) say that many company employees have complained about the inappropriate behavior and harassment of Ed Razek and the humiliation of women by Wexner, top managers of the company. In addition, the company has connections with Epstein, who committed suicide after being accused of human trafficking, as he was a friend of Wexner’s and repeatedly introduced himself as Victoria’s Secret’s casting manager to harass women (Silver-Greenberg et al., 2020). Although all these claims have not been officially confirmed, they have significantly worsened the company’s reputation. In addition, Victoria’s Secret has often been criticized for creating lingerie and advertisement that sexualize women and are mainly attractive to men, further emphasizing the company’s misogyny.

Lack of inclusion and representation of people with different body types, features, and needs

The second weakness of the company is partly related to the previous one. Victoria’s Secret was often criticized for not having a wide selection of lingerie of different sizes and models that suit women with different parameters. In addition, Victoria’s Secret has also been underrepresented by women of all ages, races, and body sizes in its shows (Krause, 2019). Therefore, this flaw allowed the customer to see Victoria’s Secret as a company imposing unrealistic standards of female beauty. Moreover, since most women do not have ideal model parameters, they may find it difficult to choose clothes. Consequently, a significant part of customers will not return to stores because they cannot purchase the goods they need. These disadvantages affect the company’s profits and brand.

Victoria’s Secret – Opportunities

Changing social standards of beauty empowers and forces the company to expand its product range and involve diverse models to increase its inclusiveness. This opportunity also means an increase in the number of customers who will be able to find the lingerie that suits their needs. The company has already begun to use this opportunity by announcing the recruitment of new models, developing a line of nursing, maternity, and mastectomy bras, and increasing the size range (Pettinicchio & Foster, 2021; El-Bawab, 2021). However, the diversity of women’s needs is significant, which means more directions for brand development.

Use of new environmentally friendly materials

Expansion of the range can also include creating products from new sustainable materials. The development of bio and nanotechnology is rapid, and the company can use them to create new products that will increase the comfort and environmental friendliness of clothing. These developments will also attract buyers who are becoming more environmentally conscious.

Victoria’s Secret – Threats

Despite the reputation and brand of Victoria’s Secret, the apparel market is highly competitive. Some competitors are equally recognizable but have an advantage on a broader selection of products, while others have lower prices or a personalized approach. For example, Tommy Hilfiger has already launched a line of clothing designed for people with disabilities (Pettinicchio & Foster, 2021). Consequently, high competition is one of the most significant threats.

Cheap imitations of the brand’s products

Brand recognizability and popularity lead to the creation of imitations. Some companies use similar names to attract customers; others copy clothing models but make them cheaper. Such practices take away some of the customers from the company and also negatively affect the brand’s reputation. However, in most cases, Victoria’s Secret cannot influence this situation, since it has no legal reason to prohibit the operation of stores with similar names or does not know about the existence of small counterfeiting sellers.

References

Caligiuri, M. (2017). Victoria, don’t keep a sustainable supply chain story a secret. Harvard Business School. Web.

Ell, K. (2020). Who has the cleanest underwear? WWD. Web.

Krause, A. (2019). The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is officially canceled. Here’s why that’s long overdue. Insider. Web.

L Brands, Inc. (2021). Form 10-K. Web.

Pettinicchio, D., & Foster, J. (2021). Victoria’s Secret joins the ‘inclusive revolution,’ finally realizing diversity sells. The Conversation. Web.

Rozario, K. (2021). Victoria’s Secret to be spun off by parent L Brands before August. Forbes. Web.

Silver-Greenberg, J., Rosman, K., Maheshwari, S., & Steward, J. (2020). ‘Angels’ in hell: The culture of misogyny inside Victoria’s Secret. The New York Times. Web.

Sustainability. (n.d.). Web.

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Essay4Business. (2022) 'Victoria’s Secret SWOT Analysis: Company Overview'. 4 December.

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