Les Wexner's Impact On Retail And Columbus

Andrew Cummings
February 26, 2020

Wexner, 82, announced on Thursday that he would step down as the chief executive and chairman of L Brands and the company would sell a majority stake of Victoria's Secret to a private equity firm. The Columbus, Ohio, company will keep the remaining 45 per cent stake.

L Brands has also come under scrutiny because its chief executive Les Wexner has ties to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on sex-trafficking charges.

The deal puts the retailer's valuation at $1.1 billion. The brand will now be separated into a private company, which Wexner said would "restore" the business's growth.

Sycamore faces big challenges to turn around the Victoria's Secret brand, which has struggled to keep up with the competition.

Sycamore has about $10 billion in assets under management. L Brands said Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 it doesn't comment on rumors. "It should be about making women feel good about themselves".

Last week, members and supporters of Model Alliance held a protest outside the Victoria's Secret N.Y.C. headquarters to demand action on the allegations. By the mid-1990s, Victoria's Mystery lit up runways and later on loaded the world wide web with its supermodels and an once-a-year television special that mixed style, natural beauty and new music. That glamour has faded and so have sales.

Its televised fashion show, which began in 2001, was cancelled previous year as the number of viewers dwindled.

As social norms defining beauty and sexiness have changed over the years, Victoria's Secret has stuck to the same playbook and lost a large number of customers to its competitors.

And in the era of the "Me Too" movement, women are looking for brands that focus on positive reinforcement of their bodies.

"Victoria's Solution will want to empower gals, not make them spectacles", said Jon Reily, senior vice president and world-wide head of commerce tactic at electronic consultancy Isobar.

And whilst final yr Victoria's Mystery started off featuring more assorted types, which includes its initially overtly transgender design, the moves fell shorter.

Victoria's Secret suffered a 12 percent drop in same-store sales during the most recent holiday season. Bath & Body Works, which had been a bright spot, is now mostly a candle business, says Randal J. Konik, an analyst at Jefferies.

"L Brands used to be a wing of a mall".

Although marketing trends in lingerie have changed, Victoria's Secret has mostly stuck to the same playbook that helped it dominate the industry: push-up bras and celebrity models. "Furthermore, with athleisure taking over, the need for regular bras continues to wane".

The company intends to use the proceeds from the transaction, along with approximately $500 million in excess balance sheet cash, to reduce debt.

Why Was the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Cancelled? Epstein signed Wexner's tax returns, was allowed to borrow money on his behalf and over the years obtained a portfolio of properties including a mansion in Manhattan and a luxury estate in OH worth roughly $100m that had previously been owned by Wexner or his companies. Wexner has claimed he totally severed ties with Epstein almost 12 many years back and accused him of misappropriating "vast sums" of his fortune.

Mr Wexner offered an apology at the opening address of L Brands's annual investor day in Columbus last autumn, saying he was "embarrassed" by his former ties with Epstein. In 1982, Raymond sold the failing San Francisco company for $1 million to Wexner.

According to CNN, Sycamore Partners and L Brands will split control of the brand.

Wexner founded L Brands in 1963 with a $5,000 loan from an aunt.

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