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Embattled Victoria’s Secret is rethinking its ratings-challenged fashion show

Embattled Victoria’s Secret is rethinking its ratings-challenged fashion show
[Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]

Victoria’s Secret is finally getting the message: It needs to change if it wants to resonate with millennial consumers.

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On Friday, parent company L Brands announced it is “rethinking” the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. In a memo to employees, L Brands CEO Les Wexner said that network television might no longer be the “right fit” for the glitzy event, reports CNBC.

The show aired on CBS and ABC for nearly 20 years, but ratings took a hit in recent years. This past December saw its lowest ratings ever, with just 3.3 million viewers. The year prior, it had 5 million. Many viewers take issue with the fashion show’s lack of body sizes and diversity, as well as failure to include trans models.

In the fall, Australian model Robyn Lawley penned a viral post that called on viewers to boycott the once heralded event. “Victoria’s Secret has dominated the space for almost 30 years by telling women there is only one kind of body beautiful,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s time Victoria’s Secret recognized the buying power and influence of women of ALL ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.”

As such, Victoria’s Secret will consider a “new kind of event,” wrote Wexner. “Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow.” The memo offered no more specifics on the new format.

The struggling retailer has been heavily criticized in the last year for failing to accommodate younger shoppers, many of whom take issue with its overly sexualized branding. Sales increasingly slip as consumers consider more inclusive alternatives like ThirdLove or Lively, which prioritize comfort and body positivity. In fact, a recent survey found that women, especially millennials, are more likely to buy intimates from Target than from Victoria’s Secret.

L Brands, which also includes Bath & Body Works, saw shares fall 1.3% by Friday afternoon. Shares have dropped more than 24% over the past 12 months. We reached out to L Brands for comment and will update if we hear back.

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