We checked out a Victoria’s Secret store in New York City to see why the brand is struggling — and what we found surprised us

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The Victoria’s Secret of today is a far cry from the fun, sexy, high-quality brand it was five years ago.

And customers are ditching in droves. Weak sales at L Brands, the parent company, have dragged the stock down 23% in 2017. The shares dropped as much as 45% year-to-date through August 30, hitting their lowest level since 2011, before rebounding slightly heading into the holiday shopping season.

In honor of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airing on Tuesday night, we went back to the store we visited in New York City to see how the brand is doing now. And what we found surprised us.


Last March, I visited the Victoria’s Secret store in SoHo, one of its largest stores in New York City. I went back on Cyber Monday to see what it looked like now.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

I expected the store to be decimated from a full weekend of Black Friday shopping, but it looked like everything was in stock.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Perhaps the orderly appearance was more a reflection of the death of Black Friday, and rise of “Black November,” the drawn out season of discounts that retailers are peddling to boost sales these days.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

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There were a few items out of place and pieces of debris here and there — a constant battle with so many pieces of underwear in the store.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

But overall, the store looked like Black Friday shoppers hadn’t done much damage.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

And the holiday decor was lovely.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Taking a closer look at the styles this season, VS seems to be obsessed with mesh.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

See-through mesh was everywhere — from underwear and bras to shirts and lingerie.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

There were holiday deals galore. Bras were buy-one-get-one or marked down to $35.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The popular five underwear for $28 special was going on, too. That offer sounds great until you calculate that $5.60 for a pair of panties isn’t exactly a deal.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

As I felt the thickness of the new materials they were using, I couldn’t help but wonder: Is everything a millimeter or two thinner?

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Victoria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Are they slowly making the material thinner and thinner in order to cut costs so they’re still able to offer these deals?

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One of the $10.50 panties I could have gotten for free with the offer code that was mailed to me as an Angel credit card holder.
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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Victoria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Some of the items, though, were still too expensive for too little clothing for me to rationalize buying. For example, this $39.50 red negligee comprised of about a square foot of see-through, mesh-like fabric they’ve become so fond of.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

And the sports bras. The new “Angel Max” boasts several features that don’t inspire me to plunk down $50 for something I could get from Target for $15.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Sources: Victoria’s Secret, Target


This super-soft robe on sale for $35, on the other hand, would make a great Christmas present. (Hint, hint to my family members who are reading this.)

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

There were tons of options for holiday gifts, and more deals to entice customers to buy them.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The store also featured looks the models will be wearing behind the scenes of the brand’s genius marketing ploy disguised as a fashion show. This year, it’s in Shanghai.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


It was still pretty hard to find things in-store, making me miss how easy it is to locate exactly what I want on their website. It took me six tries before I found the right drawer with my size.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Other customers seemed to have trouble tracking down exactly what they wanted, too.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

While the line wasn’t long by New York standards, it still looked formidable. But this location has at least fixed that annoying practice of having people stand in multiple, confusing lines behind different registers.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

As I was walking throughout the store, I was reminded why I wasn’t shopping there as much as I used to.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

This trend is one many customers share — 48% of VS shoppers in a recent survey said they are patronizing the brand less and less.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The plethora of deals on display left me with one question: Why bother shopping at Victoria’s Secret when there aren’t sales?

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The brand seemed to be in better shape than the last time we visited, but it definitely isn’t what it used to be.

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Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider