Victoria’s Secret Looks to Woo ‘Very Cautious’ Customers With Newness

Victoria's Secret

Victoria’s Secret is hoping to entice customers with both bargains and innovation as sales drop.

Speaking during an earnings call Thursday (Dec. 1), CEO Martin Waters projected a decrease in sales in the fourth quarter, saying the lingerie and beauty products retailer had seen a “very cautious customer” for most of November.

“We know that when we’ve given the customer newness, she’s responded really well to it,” Waters said. “Newness works, no question. That said, in this difficult time, she is looking for a deal, she’s looking for help.”

Sales were down 11.7% compared to the previous quarter in 2021, with customers showing hesitancy throughout November. Store traffic was up, but that wasn’t reflected in basket sizes and conversion rates, as “customers were very cautious and cost-conscious,” said Waters.

PYMNTS research has reflected that caution. The November edition of our “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report” found that a third of U.S. consumers report having difficulty keeping up with bills, while 50% say inflation has soured their view of their economic future.

That led to a holiday shopping season where a full 56 million consumers said that they have no plans to do any shopping at all this year. As we’ve reported, 7 million fewer consumers went shopping on Black Friday this year compared to the 2021 holiday season.

However, Victoria’s Secret saw activity pick up on the day after Thanksgiving, Water said, although that day also illustrated consumers’ desire for deals.

“Since Black Friday, our customers have responded positively,” Waters said. “Our stores have been some of the busiest in the mall.”

And on that busy shopping day, he and other executives were checking in with stores, and finding the same reaction everywhere: “The customer is hungry for good value.”

That meant a “highly promotional” approach to Black Friday shopping this year, Waters said, making sure the company was “fighting as hard as we possibly could.”

As for the newness factor, Waters pointed to things like last month’s acquisition of digitally-native lingerie brand Adore Me, which the CEO said will help the company modernize its digital platform.

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