Victoria’s Secret is finally raising its prices after years of extreme deals on inexpensive lingerie

Victoria's Secret
Promotions were a mainstay in Victoria’s Secret stores in the past.

  • Victoria’s Secret is cutting back on discounts and raising prices, according to a UBS report.
  • The firm has been criticized for its constant promotions, which are thought to erode profit margins.
  • Less discounting and higher prices are crucial for its turnaround effort, analysts say.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Victoria’s Secret is cutting back on deals and raising prices, and Wall Street is on board.

In a note to clients this week, UBS analysts Jay Sole and Mauricio Serna reiterated their recommendation to buy L Brands stock (the parent company behind Victoria’s Secret) and shared data that showed the level of promotions in Victoria’s Secret stores – which includes its Pink brand – was “declining at a surprisingly fast rate.”

UBS said the average price of an item listed on Victoria’s Secret’s website in May 2021 was $44, a huge 83% increase from May 2019.

It also found that a quarter of the products on its site were on sale in May 2021. This is still a substantial number but a notable improvement on the level of promotions over the past four years, which floated around the 40% to 60% mark.

“This boosts our confidence that the Victoria’s Secret turnaround is real,” these analysts said.

Read more: The rise and fall of Victoria’s Secret, America’s most famous lingerie retailer

Unsatisfied customers

Victoria’s Secret has been strongly criticized by Wall Street in the past for constant promotions in stores. Analysts said these not only erode profit margins but also dampen the brand image and make it almost impossible to encourage customers to pay full price.

It wasn’t uncommon to see 40%-off sale signs littered around its stores between 2018 and 2019, and underwear deals such as five pairs of panties for $28. And major discounts of this kind are usually a sign that retailers are looking to clear unwanted inventory.

In 2019, the company promised to cut back on these promotions and tighten inventory levels but shortly after, discounts began to creep back in. At the time, UBS analysts said that price increases could be putting off customers, causing Victoria’s Secret to go back on its progress.

Victoria’s Secret’s price points have been a contentious subject as some shoppers previously said they felt the brand was still overpriced despite all the deals and discounts. And others said the quality of the clothing didn’t match these price points.

But Victoria’s Secret’s growth over the past few quarters – same-store sales were up 9% in the first quarter of the year versus 2019 and operating income, a measure of profitability, increased by $213 million or 665% – indicates that consumers are becoming comfortable paying more for its apparel and lingerie and that it has a better handle on its inventory levels.

Gabriella Santaniello, analyst and founder of retail research firm A-Line Partners, told Insider that the pandemic enabled Victoria’s Secret to have a “reset,” and cut back on its inventory, which has facilitated more full-price sales, she said.

More inclusive marketing pays off

The company has made considerable changes to its marketing in the past year. And experts say efforts to update its brand image, which critics previously said was out-of-date and oversexualized, have also helped to boost sales.

The marketing is “more subtle and appropriate,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told Insider. It has “fewer sexual overtones and focuses more on more on celebrating women. That has resonated and has pulled some shoppers back to the brand,” he said.

Victoria's Secret
The Victoria’s Secret ad campaigns of 2021 look very different from the past.

And it matches up to what’s shown in stores, Santaniello said: “For example, they recently brought in plus-sized mannequins, which reflects their use of plus-sized models in their advertising.”

Still, the company needs to keep this “360 focus” long-term, she said. “They need to make sure they do not waiver because it will come across as inauthentic and that’s why they haven’t really been successful with the turnaround over these past few years.”

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Former Victoria’s Secret head Les Wexner ignored repeated advice about having ties to Jeffrey Epstein, according to an explosive new report

Les Wexner
Les Wexner stepped down from L Brands in 2020.

  • An investigation sheds new light on Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to ex-Victoria’s Secret head Les Wexner.
  • Epstein managed Wexner’s money and the two men were considered to be close personal friends.
  • According to Vanity Fair, Wexner was warned about Epstein in the past.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Les Wexner was warned not to trust Jeffrey Epstein on at least two separate occasions but ignored the advice, according to a new investigation by Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman.

Wexner, the Ohio-based billionaire businessman behind L Brands and Victoria’s Secret, has become a key part of the Epstein story in the past few years. Epstein had managed Wexner’s finances, reportedly beginning in the 1980s, and the two men were considered to be “close personal friends” for several years.

When Epstein was arrested in July 2019, facing sex-trafficking charges, representatives for Wexner said the retail executive had severed ties with Epstein more than 12 years ago.

Read more: Former employees reveal what the billionaire head of Victoria’s Secret is like as a boss as he faces backlash over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein

Wexner later said in a statement that “being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved, is something that I’m embarrassed I was even close to. But that is in the past.”

But Vanity Fair’s report reveals that Wexner was warned about Epstein previously. Insider contacted an L Brands spokesperson for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Jerry Merritt, who worked for Wexner for 25 years as security chief for The Limited (which later became L Brands), told Vanity Fair: “I told Les, ‘I wouldn’t trust Epstein to cross the street – why are you trusting him with your money?’ ”

Wexner gave Epstein power of attorney over all his legal and financial matters, which meant the financier could hire people, sign checks, buy and sell properties, and borrow money on Wexner’s behalf. He also became Epstein’s early ticket to the billionaire lifestyle. Epstein flew around in Wexner’s private jet and attended his exclusive parties, according to The New York Times.

Robert Meister, former vice chairman of Aon insurance brokerage, who introduced Wexner to Epstein, told Vanity Fair that shortly after making the introduction he heard concerning stories about Epstein.

“Think of whatever the worst thing anyone could do is, and Epstein did them all,” he told Vanity Fair.

Meister said he later told Wexner not to get involved with Epstein but it was too late. “He thought Epstein was brilliant,” he said.

L Brands hired outside legal counsel in 2019 to investigate the company’s own ties to Epstein following reports that Epstein had used his connection to Wexner as a way to coerce women and girls into performing sexual acts by promising them modeling jobs.

According to the Vanity Fair report, Wexner was warned about Epstein presenting himself as a Victoria’s Secret scout in New York in the early 1990s.

Longtime Victoria’s Secret catalog CEO Cynthia Fedus-Fields was reportedly alerted to this by an executive at the company in 1993. A source familiar with the matter told Vanity Fair that Wexner was told about this and said: “he would stop it.”

A spokesperson for L Brands did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the progress of the investigation into Epstein’s connection to the company.

If you have a story to share please contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4716 using a non-work phone, by email to mhanbury@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @MarySHanbury.

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Victoria’s Secret is being sued by a mall landlord for $32 million, alleging it failed to pay rent and abandoned a New York store

Victoria's Secret
Victoria’s Secret’s store in Westfield World Trade Center.

  • A landlord sued Victoria’s Secret, alleging it stopped paying rent and ditched a New York store.
  • A spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret told Insider that it cannot comment on ongoing litigation.
  • Victoria’s Secret has been tightening its business and closing stores to cut back on costs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A mall landlord is suing Victoria’s Secret for $32 million, alleging it has breached its lease contract by closing one of its stores in New York and refusing to pay rent. The store is located in Westfield’s World Trade Center mall in Downtown Manhattan.

According to Westfield’s lawsuit, Victoria’s Secret informed the landlord that it was ending its lease at the start of this year. The lingerie giant said it was invoking its right to a clause in the contract that allows it to cancel its lease early if Westfield fails to keep 75% of the stores in its mall stores open and running for more than 12 consecutive months.

Read more: The rise, fall, and comeback of Victoria’s Secret, America’s biggest lingerie retailer

But Westfield alleged in the suit that it had proved to Victoria’s Secret that it was not in breach of this clause and that the retailer, therefore, “had no right” to terminate the lease.

“Nonetheless, Victoria’s Secret refused to pay rent and abandoned its leased premises with years remaining, all in breach of its lease, ” the suit said. “As a result of Victoria’s Secret’s breaches, Westfield has been damaged in an amount that exceeds $30 million.”

A spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret told Insider that it cannot comment on pending litigation.

While Victoria’s Secret’s woes predated the pandemic, this crisis only adds to its problems and the company has been tightening up its business and streamlining costs ever since. This has included a wave of store closings in 2020 and a retreat from the mall.

Its parent company, L Brands, has taken steps to pull Victoria’s Secret and its sister brand, Bed Bath & Body Works, out of underperforming malls. In its most recent earnings call, L Brands said that around 47% of the more than 1,700 Bath & Body Works stores were now located in off-mall locations.

Last month, L Brands said it planned to spin itself into two separate public companies – Victoria’s Secret and Bed Bath & Body Works – after earlier attempts to sell Victoria’s Secret to private equity buyers didn’t elicit offers that L Brands considered equivalent in value to what it could get in a spinoff to shareholders, according to a New York Times report.

Westfield is considered to be one of the most valuable mall chains in the US, however, and is one of few that has managed to survive in a tricky retail environment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Victoria’s Secret is experiencing a major comeback after years of declining sales – and Wall Street is salivating

Victoria Secret
Victoria’s Secret was known for its annual runway show.

  • Wall Street is optimistic about Victoria’s Secret’s revival after its parent firm reported Q1 earnings.
  • Same-store sales were up 9% for the first three months of 2021 versus 2019 for Victoria’s Secret brand.
  • Experts cite more inclusive marketing and a management shakeup as key factors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Victoria’s Secret is having somewhat of a comeback, and Wall Street is starting to get excited about it.

In L Brands’ earnings call this week, several analysts congratulated the management team on Victoria’s Secret’s first-quarter results. Same-store sales were up 9% in the first quarter of the year versus 2019 and operating income, a measure of profitability, increased by $213 million or 665%.

“Welcome back,” Marni Shapiro, an analyst at The Retail Tracker, triumphantly said on the call. “I am so excited about this…it’s brilliant and overdue.”

The sentiments of this week’s call stood in stark contrast to its earnings a year ago when the management team was navigating store closings and worker-safety issues brought about by the pandemic.

It was also adjusting to the news that a private equity firm that had agreed to buy a majority stake in the company was pulling out of the deal. This left investors wondering whether Victoria’s Secret would be able to continue its turnaround effort – addressing sliding sales, former sexual harassment allegations, and moving beyond its connection to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

How then, did management swing the pendulum around and come to win back Wall Street?

Overtly sexualized ads, the Epstein connection, and harassment allegations

To understand Victoria’s Secret’s “comeback”, it’s necessary to understand its downfall.

Between 2016 and 2020, the brand became the subject of intense scrutiny among investors and the media. After it achieved explosive success between the mid-1990s to mid-2000s with its racy runway shows (which helped to launch the careers of Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum), it was increasingly accused of being out of date and oversexualized in its brand image, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Read more: The rise, fall, and comeback of Victoria’s Secret, America’s biggest lingerie retailer

Gisele Bündchen victorias secret fashion show 2018
Bündchen walks the runway at the 2006 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Sales started to dwindle, customers complained that the quality of its lingerie and apparel had slipped, and analysts became more critical as the level of promotions in its stores crept up, highlighting them as evidence that the company was struggling.

In 2019 and 2020, Victoria’s Secret’s troubles were exacerbated after the company found itself tied up in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Epstein managed Wexner’s money for several years and was considered a “close friend” of the family. Reports later emerged that Epstein had allegedly used his connection to Victoria’s Secret to coerce victims into sexual acts.

In early 2020, the company then faced a fresh wave of scandals after a New York Times investigation found a culture “of misogyny, bullying, and harassment” at the brand, which longtime marketing chief Ed Razek and Wexner were accused of creating.

Former executives, who held longtime positions at Victoria’s Secret’s corporate offices, told Insider in 2019 that Razek and Wexner had full control over the brand image and made it impossible for any CEO of Victoria’s Secret to update this or make a mark.

Read more: Former employees reveal what the billionaire head of Victoria’s Secret is like as a boss as he faces backlash over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein

‘We’re moving from what men want to what women want’

In the time since these explosive reports, both Razek and Wexner have stepped down from the company. Wexner and his wife, Abigail, are no longer on the board of directors but remain L Brands’ biggest shareholders.

And Victoria’s Secret’s executive team and L Brands board have undergone a major shakeup in the past year, gaining a new CEO, Martin Waters, who previously headed up L Brands’ international division.

The lack of diversity on its board, which was criticized by an activist shareholder, has also been addressed. In 2019, out of the 11 board members, nine were men. Today, there are six women on the board, including the chair, Sarah Nash.

leslie wexner ed razek
Les Wexner (L) and Ed Razek (R).

Critics say this shake-up has been crucial for Victoria’s Secret’s comeback by allowing new perspectives and fresh ideas to come through.

“We’re moving from what men want to what women want,” Waters said on the call on Thursday. “From sexy for a few to sexy for all.

“It’s about including most women rather than excluding most women and being grounded in real life rather than mostly unattainable,” he said.

Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger said she “applauded” its “long overdue positioning shift,” in a note to clients Friday.

The brand imagery of 2021 looks very different from what Victoria’s Secret had previously been known for; oversexualized ads have been replaced with more body-positive campaigns.

A post shared by Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret)

Waters said that customers are responding well to these changes.

They “are noticing and uploading our efforts to reposition the brand,’ he said Thursday. “We heard clearly what they [customers and associates] want from us as a brand, which is all about representing and celebrating all women and being there for every moment of their life, including supporting and advocating the things that matter most to them, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

According to, Gabriella Santaniello, analyst and founder of retail research firm A-Line Partners, the company is following through on its marketing by enacting real change in its stores. “They recently brought in plus-sized mannequins which reflect their use of plus-sized models in their advertising,” she said in an email to Insider on Friday.

“I think they need to focus on a 360 view of the brand. During the pandemic, they were able to evolve and tie up some loose ends. They need to make sure they do not waiver because it will come across as inauthentic and that’s why they haven’t really been successful with the turnaround over these past few years,” she added.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said that more “appropriate” marketing is pulling shoppers back to the brand. As is, a better product assortment.

Victoria’s Secret “has been sensible over the past year and there is a lot of focus on making women feel good whether it be through indulgences or cozy items to wear around the house,” he wrote an email to Insider.

But there’s still work to be done. Waters said the focus now is bringing more innovation to its products, especially around its bread and butter item – bras.

victorias secret Maria Borges
Victoria’s Secret was previously slow to adjust to a shift from padded and push-up bras toward bralettes and sports bras, missing out on a major fashion trend.

Santaniello said that the pandemic gave Victoria’s Secret time for a moment of pause to address its business.

“This past year was just a culmination of strategies they put into place but never fully implemented,” she said. “They were smart in using this past year, which was essentially a reset across all retail, to finally tie up their loose ends.”

During this time, Victoria’s Secret closed 250 underperforming stores and was able to pull back on inventory and cut the level of promotions. This boosted its margins in the most recent quarter.

Still, Saunders says its comeback shouldn’t be overinflated. Some of its performance has been boosted by stimulus spending and a booming consumer economy, he said.

“That rising tide of spending is floating all boats. The real acid test is what performance looks like in the quarters and years ahead,” he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Victoria’s Secret is no longer up for sale. Instead, owner L Brands will spin off the lingerie giant into a separate company.

Victoria Secret
Victoria’s Secret has updated its image.

  • L Brands is spinning off its Victoria’s Secret brand rather than selling it.
  • The move will split L Brands into two separate companies, L Brands confirmed in a statement.
  • L Brands had been looking for a buyer for Victoria’s Secret after a deal fell through last year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Victoria’s Secret is not up for sale anymore, The New York Times first reported.

Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands will instead spin off the lingerie brand, The Times reported. L Brands confirmed the news in a statement Tuesday morning.

This will split L Brands into two separate companies. The deal is expected to close in August, sources told The Times.

Read more: The rise and fall of Victoria’s Secret, America’s biggest lingerie retailer

L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, has been on the hunt for a new buyer for Victoria’s Secret since a deal with private equity firm Sycamore Partners fell through in 2020.

Sycamore pulled out of the deal after filing a lawsuit that accused L Brands of violating an agreement between the two companies by closing Victoria’s Secret stores during the pandemic, cutting back on new inventory, and not paying rent for April.

L Brands later said the decision to split was mutual.

Since then, Victoria’s Secret has made a comeback under new leadership, and as a result, L Brands was seeking a higher valuation for the company than it had before. L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer previously told Bloomberg that analysts had valued the business at as much as $5 billion.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Victoria’s Secret owner wants to sell the lingerie brand in a deal worth $2 billion or more – double what it previously asked for

Victoria's Secret
Victoria’s Secret has updated its brand image.

  • L Brands has reportedly restarted talks to sell Victoria’s Secret at a higher price than before.
  • According to Bloomberg, it wants a deal that could value Victoria’s Secret at $2 billion or more.
  • In May 2020, a private-equity firm pulled out of buying a 55% stake in the brand for $525 million.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, is reportedly on the hunt for a new buyer after a deal with a private-equity firm fell through last year, and is seeking more than double what it wanted before.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg wanted a deal that would value the brand at between $2 billion and $3 billion. Previously, Sycamore Partners had agreed to buy a 55% stake in the company for $525 million.

The private-equity firm pulled out in May 2020 after filing a lawsuit claiming Victoria’s Secret’s decision to close stores during the pandemic, cut back on new inventory, and not pay rent for April violated the two companies’ agreement. L Brands later said the decision to split was mutual.

A spokesperson for L Brands did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Friday morning. L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer confirmed to Bloomberg that the company wanted a considerably higher valuation this time round, after recouping lost sales at the back end of 2020.

“As a result of the substantial improvement in performance at Victoria’s Secret, various sell-side analysts have valued the business at as much as $5 billion,” Burgdoerfer told Bloomberg.

After several years of sliding sales, the Victoria’s Secret brand has made a comeback in recent quarters after reshuffling management and changing its brand image and marketing, which was accused of being outdated. In a recent note to clients, a group of Jefferies analysts described the brand’s progress as “admirable,” after it reported strong fourth-quarter results.

In March this year, former longtime L Brands CEO Les Wexner stepped down from the board after pressure from investors.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The wealthy millennial lifestyle is summed up in a meal-delivery service beloved by Chrissy Teigen and Goop that charges $70 a day

danielle and whitney sakara
Sakara Life has gained a foothold among wealthy millennials.

It all kicked off with a dinner party in Soho. 

Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle, two 20-something NYC transplants at the time, were charging friends “admission” to their apartment soiree.

The year was 2012 and the party was a trial for their young business: Sakara Life, an organic food-delivery service offering plant-based, chemical-free, prepackaged meals.

The dinner raised the pair just $700 in capital, which they used to buy a domain, make business cards for distribution at cafes and yoga studios, and test out healthy, organic recipes on friends and neighbors, hand-delivered door-to-door on bikes. 

Just a year later, in 2013, Gwyneth Paltrow endorsed Sakara on GOOP, taking the brand mainstream. 

DuBoise and Tingle quickly began picking up press, featured everywhere from Vogue and The New York Times to Forbes’ 30 Under 30. By 2016, Sakara had raised $4.8 million in its only funding round to date. In 2017, the founders wrote in an article for Time, Sakara had 85 employees and delivered 1 million meals. Between then and 2019, its customer base tripled, per Glossy.

What began as a dinner party turned into a multimillion-dollar business in less than five years. While DuBoise and Tingle, now 35 and 36 years old, respectively, declined to share Saraka’s revenue for the past year with Insider, they said that as of 2020 it had 2 million subscribers and 200 employees.

Nearly a decade in, what they call the “Sakaralite community” has grown wide and diverse, they said. But along the way, the brand has garnered a cult following among models and celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen and Lena Dunham, becoming the go-to health detox for wealthy millennials in particular. It’s a staple among both Victoria’s Secret models like Lily Aldridge and “the fashion flock,” as Vogue puts it, and even caters backstage at runway shows.

A post shared by Sakara Life (@sakaralife)

Sakara has also forged partnerships with other cult-like millennial brands such as SoulCycle, GOOP, and Tata Harper, and sells products through millennial favorite Free People and high-end retailer Saks Fifth Avenue.

The cofounders, who served as co-CEOs while each had a pregnancy in 2020, told Insider about how Sakara took flight, how it’s still growing, and how its community of fans is transforming the company. What’s taken shape over the past decade is a lifestyle brand that sums up the wealthy millennial.

Organic meals for young professionals on-the-go

A Sakaralite may find on their doorstep for lunch something like Sakara Cobb Salad with coconut “bacon” (seed-crusted avocado) or Golden Pineapple Un-Fried Rice with tempeh and red cabbage. For breakfast, that might look more like a Sacha Inchi Pumpkin Scone with apple butter.

The meals arrive in intentionally shareable packaging that characterizes the millennial aesthetic, with clean and minimalist type, bold hues, and nature-inspired prints, ranging from colorful cacti to pink and purple petals.

Pricing starts at $80 a day for three days of meals for $240, or $70 a day for five days of meals for $349. A separate five-day detox runs for $400, and a four-week, 20-day program for brides is $1,395

Sakara life meal
A full-plated program.

A healthy, outsourced, Instagrammable meal seems to be the ultimate recipe for the young professional long on money and short on time. Sakaralites often seem to be women similar to DuBoise and Tingle, two chic blondes who exude an effortless cool girl aesthetic. They’re women who want to eat healthy but lack the time to figure out how, which DuBoise and Tingle were themselves, before that dinner party in 2012. 

Like many young adults, DuBoise and Tingle had relocated to New York City in their 20s from their hometowns (they are both from Sedona, Arizona) to pursue careers. But their lifestyles didn’t align with good nutrition.

The long, high-stress hours of Wall Street left Tingle eating quick, low-nutrient food that wrecked her gut health, while yo-yo dieting put DuBoise, then a student modeling part-time, in the hospital with pneumonia. 

danielle and whitney
Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle.

The health scare prompted DuBoise to switch from studying medicine to nutrition for alternative healing methods. She and Tingle educated themselves on every nutritional theory they could find, slowly transforming their relationship with food and overall health. 

“I decided that my mission would be to share that way of plant-rich eating and mindful living with the world in hopes I could help others have a similar transformation,” DuBoise said. 

Sakara’s wellness mantra made it a millennial status symbol

Sakara’s focus on the body and mind lures a millennial cohort, dubbed “the wellness generation.”

Millennials take a holistic approach to wellness, viewing it as something that can be incorporated into every aspect of their lives, Kenya Watson, Intelligence Analyst at CB Insights, told Insider. She added that millennials are influencing the health and wellness industry by breaking down traditional boundaries around product categories.

“Different aspects of physical wellness like food, fitness, and beauty are no longer compartmentalized,” Watson said. To millennials, she said, “it’s about how these products work together, which is why food products can be viewed through a beauty and wellness lens.”

Sakara has tapped into this shift with offerings beyond meal deliver. There’s Clean Boutique, an online marketplace with everything from beauty chocolates to metabolism super powder (raw cacao that promises to “fire up” metabolism); S-Life Mag, a digital magazine that dives into happiness and spirituality, touting headlines like “Heal Your Headspace” and “Strengthen Your Pranic Body;” and a cookbook, “Eat Clean Play Dirty.”

The cofounders have also hosted Sakara Sessions, panels across US cities featuring health and wellness leaders (the panels went virtual during the pandemic).

sakara
Sakara’s standalone offerings.

 

Balancing quarantine, their simultaneous pregnancies, and continuing to grow Sakara in 2020, DuBoise and Tingle aren’t slowing down. In March 2020, they launched a podcast that harkens back to their spiritual Sedona roots, billed as a mind and soul counterpart to Sakara’s food and science. They’ve spoken with everyone from Arianna Huffington on burnout culture to star astrologist Susan Miller on purpose in the planets. 

The cofounders said they believe Sakara has been able to carve out a durable niche because its philosophy is rooted in both emerging nutrition science and ancient healing practices. A Sakaralite, as they describe it, is a “person looking to take their health in their own hands, feel good in their bodies, and invest in their health, whether as a one-time reset or permanent lifestyle.”

It’s why DuBoise and Tingle have touted Sakara as more of a wellness company than anything, preaching lifestyle over diet and nutrition over calories. When asked to concisely describe the brand, they responded with “transformation and self-actualization.” 

A hands-on approach

Sakara’s foothold among wealthy millennials signals just how far the brand has come since its beginning, when one of DuBoise and Tingle’s first clients was DuBoise’s boss, who they said was suffering from a variety of health issues. As they tell it, they knew they had something worth sharing after seeing his transformation upon eating their meals.

By the time their client list hit 25 people in the first year, they had begun hiring and managing a team. In 2019, they diverged from their grassroots approach to increase their marketing budget by 60%, Glossy reported, with the majority allocated toward offline marketing. 

sakara life founders
DuBoise and Tingle said their relationship has been a key part of Sakara’s success.

Throughout all of Sakara’s journey, DuBoise and Tingle said, they’ve remained involved in everything. In the early days, they juggled everything from finance and customer service to recipe development and cooking.

Today, each targets certain business areas best suited to their strengths. DuBoise’s medicine and nutrition background enabled her to lean into scientific research and product development, while Tingle focuses on education and community.

Sakara has a grip on a competitive industry

In a time when eating out is more nostalgia than hobby, meal-kit delivery services have seen a surge. But that’s also meant the space has become more crowded, with restaurants foraying into the industry to compensate for the losses of their temporarily shut doors. 

The growing meal-delivery space is expected to reach nearly $20 billion by 2027. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and HungryRoot are just a few of Sakara’s competitors.  

Industry experts question whether this uptick will last once indoor dining and regular grocery trips become widespread again. Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis, previously told Insider Intelligence that he views meal-kit services as more product than standalone service.

Looking toward the rest of 2021, DuBoise and Tingle said they’re focused on hiring and “building out Sakara’s tool kit” by expanding the brand’s product offerings, enhancing technology, and creating new platforms. 

“We make it a priority to give people the tools to nourish, build a body they love (and feel good in), and understand that we should all enjoy that glass of wine or fries if it brings us joy,” Tingle said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

27 clothing brands that have announced major store closures

francesca's
Francesca’s store.

Once highly popular clothing stores are facing mass closures. Though some retailers were already struggling due to a rise in online shopping, the coronavirus pandemic ground in-store shopping to a halt, leaving those without well-developed e-commerce businesses in serious trouble, according to Forbes.

Victoria’s Secret was already in decline before the pandemic and announced in May 2020 that it plans to close up to 250 stores in the US and Canada. Lord & Taylor announced in August that it had filed for bankruptcy and would begin liquidating its 38 remaining stores. And most recently, Macy’s confirmed it would be closing 37 more of its stores by the end of 2021.

Take a look at all the clothing brands and stores you’ll see less of in the future.

Francesca’s filed for bankruptcy in December 2020 and announced plans to close 140 of the retailer’s remaining 700 stores by the end of this month.

francesca's
Francesca’s store.

The women’s apparel and accessories chain is currently seeking “authorization to pursue an auction and sale process” expected to close on January 20, according to CNBC.

Business Insider reported that Francesca’s sales fell 29% over the quarter despite rising online sales, according to the retailer’s second-quarter earnings.

Gap Inc. announced last year it would begin exiting malls and shutter 350 stores by 2024.

Gap.
Gap.

As a result, 80% of remaining Gap stores will be located in off-mall locations, according to AP.

Gap closed 40 stores globally in early 2020 as part of a plan to close 230 stores over the course of two years. Twenty-nine of the closings were in the United States. 

A statement on the company’s website said, “We are committed to quickly, thoughtfully, and decisively addressing stores that are underperforming or don’t fit our vision for the future of Gap.”

According to a previous report by Business Insider, the company plans to open more stores under other banners including Old Navy and Athleta. 

Gap Inc. said it plans to close 130 of its North American Banana Republic stores in the next three years.

Banana Republic store
Banana Republic store in Scarsdale, New York.

A previous article from Business Insider reported earlier this year that net sales at the fashion retailer were down 52%. 

“Banana Republic continues to focus on taking action to adjust to consumer preferences and improve inventory mix as the shift to casual fashion during the stay-at-home requirements has left the brand’s workwear assortment disadvantaged,” the company said in its August earnings release.

Famed discount department store Century 21 will also close all of its locations.

century 21 store
Century 21.

Century 21 announced on September 10 that the retailer would close all 13 of its locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida, after failing to receive money from its insurers, according to the New York Times.

“While retailers across the board have suffered greatly due to Covid-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery,” Raymond Gindi, a co-chief executive at Century 21, said in a press release, referencing Century 21’s comeback after the September 11 attacks which devastated downtown Manhattan, where the chain’s famous New York City location is found.

American Eagle Outfitters could close up to 500 stores in the next two years.

An Omani man passes in front of an American fashion brand, American Eagle Outfitters in City Center Mall in Muscat, Oman, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
American Eagle Outfitters storefront.

According to an investor press release, net revenue from American Eagle and Aerie fell 15% to $884 million in the second quarter.

After 194 years in business, Lord & Taylor announced in August that it would be closing all of its stores.

Lord & Taylor
Lord & Taylor storefront.

The first department store established in the United States, Lord & Taylor announced on August 27, 2020, that it had filed for bankruptcy and would begin liquidating its 38 remaining stores.

“While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company’s brands,” Ed Kremer, Lord & Taylor’s chief restructuring officer, said in a press statement.

Victoria’s Secret announced it would be closing up to 250 stores in the US and Canada.

Victoria's Secret.
Victoria’s Secret.

L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret, announced in May that it would close 251 stores in the US and Canada. In the US, 235 Victoria’s Secret and three Pink stores will close, and the rest will be in Canada. According to Forbes, Victoria’s Secret’s net sales fell 46% in the first fiscal quarter of 2020.

JCPenney filed for bankruptcy in May and could close more than 240 stores.

JCPenney.
JCPenney.

According to CNN Business, JCPenney missed debt payments and is nearly $4 billion in debt. CEO Jill Soltau said in a press release, “The closure of our stores due to the pandemic necessitated a more fulsome review to include the elimination of outstanding debt.”

JCPenney plans to close a total of 242 stores between this fiscal year and the next.

Macy’s plans to close 125 stores by 2023, with dozens of stores closing this year.

Macy's.
Macy’s.

According to a previous Business Insider report, the closings account for about one-fifth of the company’s total stores. The retailer also said at the time it was planning to cut 2,000 corporate jobs and closing several offices. 

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement, “We are taking the organization through significant structural change to lower costs, bring teams closer together, and reduce duplicative work.”

According to CNBC, 37 stores are expected to shutter by the end of 2021.

The owner of Zara, Inditex, announced in June that it would close up to 1,200 stores around the world.

Zara.
Zara.

As Business Insider previously reported, the stores will close over the next two years. The company plans to shift its focus to online sales. 

Inditex hasn’t announced which locations will close, but said in a statement it will be “stores at the end of their useful life.”

CEO Pablo Isla said in an Inditex report, “The overriding goal between now and 2022 is to speed up full implementation of our integrated store concept, driven by the notion of being able to offer our customers uninterrupted service no matter where they find themselves, on any device and at any time of the day.”

In 2019, Chico’s announced it would close 250 stores over the next three years.

Chico's.
Chico’s.

Chico’s operates Chico’s, White House Black Market, and Soma, and will close 100 Chico’s locations, 90 White House Black Market stores, and 60 Soma locations, Business Insider previously reported

Chico’s announced closures in early 2019 and had closed 49 locations by the end of that year.

In March, Modell’s filed for bankruptcy and announced it would close all of its 153 stores.

Modell's.
Modell’s.

According to the New York Post, “The chain, which sold mid-priced activewear brands, faced increasing competition from Dick’s Sporting Goods, the only national sporting goods chain left. Dick’s recently pulled out of a sales slump by focusing on service at the stores and catering more to women.” 

Guess said in June that it planned to close 100 locations worldwide in 18 months.

Guess.
Guess.

Chief Executive Officer Carlos Alberini told Bloomberg analysts, “The recent stock performance and expected demand under our new-normal model made very clear that our store portfolios around the world could be optimized to increase profitability.”

Express stated in January 2020 that it plans to close approximately 100 of its remaining locations by 2022.

Express.
Express.

Express closed nine stores in 2019 and closed 31 stores in 22 states in January. Thirty-five stores are expected to close by January 2021, leaving 25 to shut down by the end of 2022, according to Business Insider

CEO Tim Baxter said in a statement, “My expectation is that we will return to a mid-single-digit operating margin through a combination of low-single-digit comp sales growth, margin expansion and cost reductions. This will of course take some time, but we have a clear path.”

Neiman Marcus is shuttering five of its locations, as well as 17 of its off-price Neiman Marcus Last Call stores.

Neiman Marcus Last Call.
Neiman Marcus Last Call.

Among the list of closed locations is Neiman Marcus’ Hudson Yards location in New York City, which opened a little over a year ago to “significant fanfare,” according to a previous article by Business Insider.

Following the bankruptcy filing, Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said in a statement, “Like most businesses today, we are facing unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed inexorable pressure on our business.”

Nordstrom said in May that it would close 19 locations permanently.

Nordstrom.
Nordstrom.

The company announced in early May that it would close 16 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Texas, and Puerto Rico, according to Business Insider.

A few weeks later, the company announced additional closures of its luxury apparel Jeffrey stores in Atlanta, New York City, and Palo Alto.

The Children’s Place announced in June that it would shutter 300 stores permanently.

The Children's Place.
The Children’s Place.

The kids’ clothing company said it would close 200 stores this year and 100 more in 2021.

In a press release, CEO Jane Elfers said, “In an effort to structurally position the company for continued success, we are significantly accelerating our fleet optimization initiative, and focusing our resources on accelerating our digital sales, both key elements of our long-standing transformation strategy.”

Destination Maternity filed for bankruptcy in October 2019 and said it would shut down 183 stores.

Destination Maternity.
Destination Maternity.

Destination Maternity saw several closures in Wisconsin in March, continuing its plan to shutter a total of 183 locations.

According to USA Today, “The company, in a court document, blamed the retail industry’s turmoil, declining birth rates, high rents and leadership turnover for faltering. The company has had five CEOs in the last five years.”

G-III Apparel Group announced in June that it plans to close all of its Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass stores.

Wilson's Leather.
Wilsons Leather.

G-III Apparel Group, which also owns DKNY, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger, said in June that it plans to close all of its 110 Wilson’s Leather and 89 G.H. Bass stores, according to a previous Business Insider report.

Chairman and CEO Morris Goldfarb said in a statement, “With a focus on enhancing shareholder value, we have made the difficult decision to close all of the Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass stores and have entered into agreements for the early lease termination of a significant majority of these stores.”

Christopher & Banks announced in 2018 that it planned to close up to 40 stores by the end of 2020.

Christopher & Banks.
Christopher & Banks.

According to BizJournals, the company lost $8.8 million in one 2018 quarter but saw online sales increase by 10.7%. 

In April 2019, Star Tribune reported that Christopher & Banks was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after failing to meet a minimum $15 million market cap.

Lucky Brand filed for bankruptcy in July and announced it would close at least 13 locations.

Lucky Brand.
Lucky Brand.

Lucky Brand currently has about 200 locations in the United States and said it plans to close at least 13 stores. The locations closing will be in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, and Puerto Rico.

Interim CEO Matthew Kaness said in a statement, “While we are optimistic about the reopening of stores and our customers’ return, the business has yet to recover fully.”

Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy on July 8. The brand will be closing about 51 stores.

Brooks Brothers.
Brooks Brothers.

According to CNBC, a spokesperson for the retailer said, “Over the past year, Brooks Brothers’ board, leadership team, and financial and legal advisors have been evaluating various strategic options to position the company for future success, including a potential sale of the business,” and added, “During this strategic review, Covid-19 became immensely disruptive and took a toll on our business.”

On July 8, Business Insider reported that 38 Brooks Brothers stores had permanently closed.

J. Crew filed for bankruptcy in May and announced in July it was closing at least eight stores.

J. Crew.
J. Crew.

Business Insider reported that a list of eight stores that are set to close in August was released in a bankruptcy filing on July 10. The closing locations are in Nashville, Tennessee; Emeryville, California; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Southampton, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; Carlsbad, California; and Deer Park, Illinois.

However, J. Crew has since released a statement that the company has re-opened 458 stores, representing approximately 95% of its total store fleet, after a series of temporary closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New York & Co. stores may become obsolete.

new york co
New York & Co. storefront.

Parent company RTW Retailwinds announced in July that the company had filed for bankruptcy and planned to close most, “if not all,” of its brick-and-mortar stores.

Tailored Brands, which owns Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, said in July that it would close up to 500 stores over time and cut its corporate workforce by 20%.

men's wearhouse storefront.JPG
Men’s Wearhouse storefront.

In August, the parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

According to Business Insider, the company said in a news release that it has “reevaluated the forecasted profitability and strategic value of every store in its fleet relative to current and anticipated trends in consumer demand and has identified up to 500 stores for closure over time.”

Sears announced in November 2019 that it would close 51 stores by February 2020.

Sears.
Sears.

According to Business Insider, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, Transform Holdco, announced it would close 51 Sears stores and 45 KMart stores — 182 Sears and KMart stores will remain following the closures.

Fashion retailer Coldwater Creek announced in July 2020 that it would be shutting down its stores and website.

Coldwater Creek
Coldwater Creek.

The retailer explained it would be fulfilling orders that were already placed but would be closing its stores and website.

“The challenging issues brought on by COVID-19 have led us down a path we were not expecting,” Coldwater Creek said on its website. “Coldwater Creek’s retail locations and website are closed and we are unable to take any orders. Thank you for being a valued part of our family and story. Please check back now and then for any updates.”

In September, it was announced that Coldwater Creek was acquired by Hong Kong firm Newtimes Group, though nothing has been announced as to whether the brand will return or be restructured.

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