L Brands has cancelled 2019’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, saying the decision was part of a move to “evolve the messaging of [the company]”. The move follows months of speculation and the lowest ratings ever for the show in 2018.
“We will be communicating to customers, but nothing similar in magnitude to the fashion show,” said CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer.
Burgdoerfer told analysts on an earnings call that the company was pulling back on more extravagant marketing methods. That came as the company acknowledged that sales at the Victoria’s Secret brand continue to decline. Sales fell 7% in the latest quarter, compared to a 2% drop during the same period a year ago.
With the exception of a small rise in the first quarter of 2018, Victoria’s Secret same store sales have declined every quarter since Q4 2016.
While the show was, at one time, a pop culture event, it has been losing viewers over the past few years. Burgdoerfer, while heralding the show as a “remarkable marketing achievement,” downplayed its financial impact of late, saying “as timing over the years shifted over the years in terms of the airing the fashion show, did we see specific material impact in terms of a short-term sales response to the airing of the fashion show? As a general matter, the answer to that question is no.”