Shares of Victoria’s Secret tumbled on Wednesday after the lingerie giant said it’s laying off 160 management-level employees at its Ohio headquarters.
The fired workers in “management roles” represent 5% of Victoria’s Secret home office headcount and will save about $40 million, the company said.
Shares were down more than 3% at $27.10 on Wednesday afternoon.
The company also named a new chief executive, Amy Hauk, who’d led the company’s teen-focused Pink label since 2019. Hauk will be CEO of both brands now.
Victoria’s Secret was split off a year ago from L Brands, which also owned Bath & Body Works, becoming an independent, publicly traded company amid a massive brand redo.
The turnaround is aimed at shedding the company’s decades-old elitist image — it ditched the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show last year and no longer uses imagery of its famous Angels — to respond to critics who decried it as a sexist, exclusionary company. Slammed for being out of touch, the company’s sales had steadily declined for several years.
Now it offers plus sizes and features plus-size models in its marketing as well as selling masectomy bras for the first time. It also launched its first-ever Mother’s Day campaign last year. Its stores are brighter and it’s championing more causes highlighting women’s achievements, tapping famous athletes like Megan Rapinoe and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas to represent the brand.
“Over the last year, we have progressed a thoughtful revolution of our business by redefining the VS brand and rebuilding our strategy for growth,” said VS&Co chief executive Martin Waters.
But the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer has its work cut out for it.
Sales dropped by 4.5% to $1.5 billion in the most recent quarter and comparable sales declined by 8% compared with the same period a year ago.