We went to a Victoria’s Secret store in NYC and saw why the brand is struggling

Weak sales at Victoria’s Secret are plaguing its parent company L Brands, dragging down its stock price more than 40% over the past year. 

If you visit a store, it’s clear why.

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I became obsessed with Victoria’s Secret in college, buying bras, underwear, lingerie, clothes, swimsuits, and perfume from the brand in store and online. I would typically buy something every two months or so. It was excessive, but I loved how fun the brand was, and all the luxurious stuff I could get with tons of discounts because I shopped there so often.

For the last four years, I’ve had a Victoria’s Secret Angel VIP credit card. But over the last two, I’ve noticed a deep dive in the quality of materials they use, the number of deals I can get, and the overall variety of options they offer.

I recently visited a Victoria’s Secret store to see how the brand has changed.

I went to the Victoria’s Secret in SoHo — one of their largest stores in New York City — after they didn’t have a large enough selection at their Flatiron location.

Each section of the store features about a dozen bra types that each come in a variety of colors and styles. Bras range in price from around $15 to $200.

My first impression is decadence. Rich, deep wood and mood lighting fill the store, inviting you to treat yourself.

As I venture in, it’s virtually impossible to find anything. A very nice sales associate offered to help me locate specific bras, but even she had trouble tracking them down.

The problem is that there are no labels anywhere. To find a specific style, you have to look at the tag of each bra to see what kind it is.

I’ve seen signs in their stores before, but this store lacked them. The names are difficult to differentiate, too, because they’re so similar. Their “Dream Angels,” “Body by Victoria,” and “Very Sexy” collections fit very differently.

With so many bras and panties everywhere, it is a constant battle for associates to keep the stores in order.

Victoria’s Secret has expanded its expensive offerings in the past few years, offering what they advertise as more luxurious lingerie.

This tiny bustier was almost $200.

On the flip side, many discounts were also advertised throughout the store. Market analysts have said the industry is in the midst of a “bra war,” thanks to mounting competition from American Eagle’s Aerie brand and athleisure companies like Lululemon.

Source: Business Insider

Victoria’s Secret dropped its clothing line, which I loved, but still offers some sleep items.

Many of the pajama pants I saw were expensive and made of a super thin material. This pair was $32.

Don’t even get me started on the sport collection. I cannot justify spending $60 on yoga pants or $40 on a sports bra.

With a few bras to try (located by my sales associate), it was time for the dressing room. Opulent decorations and bountiful hooks for all of your items fill the rather large rooms.

You can adjust the lights via a dimmer switch so the mood lighting for your lingerie is just right. There’s a button to summon a sales associate, too, who can grab you different sizes or styles.

Each dressing room has a “Try me on” t-shirt, so you can see how a bra fits under clothes. I passed.

Security tags attached to the bra clasp make it nearly impossible to try bras on. I get that they want to prevent you from stealing their bras, but they could probably find a better place to attach them.

Time to checkout. The process is somewhat confusing — people form multiple lines behind individual cashiers. I immediately regretted the slow line I chose.

As an Angel Card member, I also had three coupons that had been mailed to me. Unfortunately, only one ended up giving me a discount for what I was trying to buy.

I ended up buying a 1.7 fl. oz. new perfume for $52, one bra for $34.50, and two pairs of underwear. I also got a small scented pillow for free with my purchase.

I’ll probably still make one or two purchases a year at Victoria’s Secret. But it’s not what it used to be.

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