Victoria’s Secret: Another Big-time Catalog Bites the Dust

Over the last several years, a number of prominent retailers have cut back on or eliminated their print catalogs. Often the costs became too high; and producing online catalogs became more effective.
The latest major retailer to decide to eliminate its catalog operation is Victoria’s Secret, a multi-billion dollar division of L Brands  (whose headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio)
As Tim Feran reports for the Columbus Dispatch:
“Victoria’s Secret catalogs are about to become a thing of the past. The move is part of a series of changes designed to simplify the business and accelerate growth. The precise timing of its demise hasn’t been firmed up, but company officials say this will be the last year for the publication.”
“The decision to get rid of it was made after L Brands did its characteristically cautious testing. ‘We did a test eliminating the catalog in two markets for a year,’ said Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer. ‘We saw no significant change in sales.’” Thus, with publishing and mailing the catalog costing between $125 million to $150 million a year, eliminating the paper publication seemed to promise a significant improvement in profits. A further test came in the fourth quarter of 2015, when L Brands reduced catalog activity by about 40 percent. Seeing that sales weren’t hurt by the move gave the company confidence to drop it, Burgdoerfer said.”
Click the image to read New York Magazine‘s insights.


This entry was posted in Part 1: Overview/Planning, Part 2: Ownership, Strategy Mix, Online, Nontraditional, Part 3: Targeting Customers and Gathering Information, Part 6: Merchandise Management and Pricing, Part 7: Communicating with the Customer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Victoria’s Secret: Another Big-time Catalog Bites the Dust

  1. Pingback: Victoria’s Secret: Another Big-time Catal...

  2. Vic Crain says:

    Based on private work that I’ve done, I wouldn’t assume that elimination of a catalog is a universal solution for all product categories or brands. Elimination of the catalog may even reinforce perceptions among some consumers that Victoria’s is in decline. The formal announcement of the elimination of the catalog may do more harm than a quieter phasing out of the book.

    That said, what’s the point of combining Victoria’s and Bath and Body Works in the same holding company? Sun Capital Partners collected The Limited, Victoria’s, Bath & Body, Lane Bryant, and Henri Bendl and has done what with them exactly? We have seen other deals (Sears/KMart comes to mind) that demonstrate that (1) retailers don’t understand the limitations of the Internet and (2) access to capital doesn’t equate to excellence in retail management.

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