The CEO of Victoria’s Secret insisted that the explosive Hulu documentary in July that chronicled the lingerie giant’s links to dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was a “non event” – instead blaming the retailer’s lackluster quarter on the economy.

Victoria’s Secret was bracing for a double whammy when the Hulu documentary “Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons” was released on July 14, illustrating the close relationship between Epstein and billionaire Les Wexner, the former head of Victoria’s Secret and its parent, L Brands.

The documentary claims that while Epstein was drawn to Wexner’s for his money and access to the Victoria’s Secret super models — some of whom he allegedly abused – Wexner saw Epstein as sophisticated and glamorous. Epstein also gave financial and legal advice concerning Wexner’s pre-nuptial agreement, according to the documentary.

The documentary even suggests that the men had a sexual relationship – which Wexner “categorically denied” in a statement through his attorney.

“We were extremely prepared,” for the documentary, Chief Executive Martin Waters told analysts on a Thursday conference call, adding that it turned out to be a “non event,” because it had “very low viewership.”

The documentary explored the relationship between Epstein and Les Wexner.
HULU
Les Wexner smiling.
Les Wexner has said he was “embarrassed” by his relationship with Epstein.
Courtesy Hulu
Jeffrey Epstein's mug shot.
Jeffrey Epstein had close ties to Victoria’s Secret’s Les Wexner.
AP

“After years of tarnishing the brand,” Waters added, “99% of what we do today is polishing the brand. We are on a journey, we still have more to do,” but “we are on the right track.” 

The company said late Wednesday its sales dropped 6% to $1.5 billion in the second quarter ended July 30 while comparable sales dropped by 8% compared to a year ago. It also slashed its guidance for the year, estimating that sales will decline in the mid- to high-single-digit range.

Management said the lingerie maker, which became an independent company one year ago, splitting off from L Brands and its sister retailer Bath & Body Works, suffered the same fate as other mall retailers over the summer.  

“Our [customer] traffic deceleration trends align generally with what the mall was seeing or other retailers,” chief financial officer Tim Johnson said on a Thursday earnings call with analysts.

Victoria’s Secret has been revamping its brand image over the past couple of years moving away from its sexualized advertising, adding more diverse models, including plus size women to its marketing, but consumers are less concerned about such factors in a struggling economy.

A Victoria's Secret store window display.
Second quarter sales at Victoria’s Secret fell by 6%.
Getty Images

“Low income consumers have to fight for every dollar and fundamentally our consumer is a mid-to-low income consumer,” Waters said on the earnings call.  “We are very much impacted by the times.”

Both Macy’s and Nordstrom cut their full year guidance this month, citing concerns about consumer spending while mass discounter Walmart said its sales have only grown during downturn as more shoppers, including higher income families, seek out bargains. It also said that its apparel sales have fallen.

Shares of the company were up nearly 5% to about $40.



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