Victoria’s Secret Pink: Keeping the Brand Hip

Topics: Target market, Lingerie, Pink Pages: 5 (1902 words) Published: June 10, 2012
When most people think of Victoria’s Secret, they think of lingerie. Indeed, the Limited Brands division has done a very good job of developing this association by placing images of super-models donning its signature bras, panties, and “sleepwear” in everything from standard broadcast and print advertising to the controversial prime-time television fashion shows that the company airs each year. Such promotional tactics have paid off for Victoria’s Secret, a subsidiary of Limited Brands, which continues to achieve healthy sales and profit growth.

How does a successful company ensure that its hot sales don’t cool off? One approach is to sell more to existing customers. Another is to find new customers. Victoria’s Secret is doing plenty of both. One key component in its quest to find new customers is the launch and growth of its sub-brand, Pink.

Victoria’s Secret launched its line of Pink products in 50 test markets in 2003. Based on very positive initial results, the company expanded the sub-brand quickly to a national level. With the Pink introduction, Victoria’s Secret hoped to add a new segment to its base: young, hip, and fashionable customers. “Young” in this case means 18 to 30 years of age. More specifically, Pink is geared toward college coeds. According to company spokesman Anthony Hebron, “It’s what you see around the dorm. It’s the fun, playful stuff she needs, but is still fashionable.”

The company classifies the Pink line as “loungewear,” a very broad term that includes sweatpants, T-shirts, pajamas, bras and panties, pillows and bedding, and even dog accessories. In keeping with the “young and fun” image, the product line includes bright colors (Pink is not a misnomer) and often incorporates stripes and polka-dots. The garments feature comfortable cuts and mostly soft cotton fabrics. To keep things fresh for the younger segment, stores introduce new Pink products every three or four weeks.

According to those at Victoria’s Secret, in sharp contrast to the sexy nature of the core brand, Pink is positioned as cute and playful. “It’s spirited and collegiate. It’s not necessarily sexy—it’s not sexy at all—but young, hip, and casual. It’s fashion-forward and accessible,” said Mary Beth Wood, a spokeswoman for Victoria’s Secret. The Pink line does include underwear that some might consider to be on par with standard Victoria’s Secret items. But management is quick to point out that the designs, such as heart-covered thongs, are more cute than racy. Displays of Pink merchandise often incorporate stuffed animals, and many articles display Pink’s trademark mascot, a pink dog.

Originally, Pink was considered to be a store-within-a-store concept. But Pink sales have surpassed expectations. To date, Victoria’s Secret has opened six stand-alone Pink stores. In 2007, Pink revenues hit $900 million, almost one-sixth of the company’s $5.6 billion take for the year. Because of this, the company is giving far more serious consideration to expanding the presence of Pink lifestyle shops in several markets.

Limited Brands has been experiencing good times, and executives have been quick to recognize that Victoria’s Secret is a huge part of that success. In fact, the Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works divisions have accounted for roughly 70 percent of revenue (Victoria’s Secret alone was good for more than 50 percent) and almost all the profit in recent years. But Limited Brands CEO Les Wexner is not content to let the chain rest. “The Victoria brand is really the power of the business,” he says. “We can double the Victoria’s Secret business in the next five years.” This would mean increasing the division’s sales to more than $10 billion. The umbrella strategy for achieving this growth is to continually broaden the customer base. This will include a focus on new and emerging...
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