Victoria’s Secret will permanently close 250 stores in the US and Canada as the pandemic cripples its business

Victoria’s Secret announced Wednesday that it planned to permanently close 250 stores in the US and Canada in 2020.

Its parent company announced the news in a commentary alongside its first-quarter earnings results after the market’s close. Victoria’s Secret has 849 stores in North America. The majority of these locations have remained closed since March after the coronavirus pandemic hit the US.

News of these store closings came just weeks after its parent company, L Brands, confirmed that a deal to sell a majority stake in the company to the private-equity firm Sycamore Partners had fallen through. Analysts were banking on Sycamore to execute a turnaround at Victoria’s Secret and reposition the brand for the future after several years of sliding sales.

But Sycamore Partners filed a lawsuit to back out of the deal in April, alleging that Victoria’s Secret’s moves during the coronavirus pandemic to close stores, cut back on new inventory, and not pay rent for the month of April were in violation of the agreement that the two parties had made in February.

After initially saying it would “vigorously defend” the lawsuit and that a termination of the agreement was “invalid,” Victoria’s Secret confirmed that it had come to a “mutual agreement” to “terminate” the deal.

The company said stood by its goal to spin off the Victoria’s Secret brand – which consists of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty, and Pink – to establish it as an independent company.