Victoria’s Secret has been quietly closing Canadian locations, and it’s unclear how many more will be closed in 2020.
Over the past year, the American lingerie giant shut down operations in CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, CF Richmond Centre near Vancouver, and CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa; its latest closure is CF Market Mall in Calgary.
In February 2019, the franchise announced it would close 53 stores across North America following a decrease in sales.
According to Darryl Schmidt, Vice President for National Leasing at Cadillac Fairview, the Calgary closure was unsurprising.
“We’ve been seeing this storm coming for a while,” Schmidt said. “When we did that first tranche of business they thought that Victoria’s Secret was going to be 10 to 15 stores in Canada. Then it was phenomenally successful and they wound up opening 40 plus stores. I think they cannibalized some of their own market share.”
Victoria’s Secret has notoriously struggled to retain customers in recent years.
Unlike inclusive brands such as Aerie and Savage x Fenty, Victoria’s Secret has consistently refused to adapt to the current social climate; the company only introduced diverse models in October as part of its #loveyourself campaign.
Unsurprisingly, many customers weren’t impressed by the delayed response.
The brand is also losing customers over its insistence on using hypersexualized, male-oriented advertising in the era of #MeToo.
And it didn’t help that in 2018, the brand’s chief marketing officer Ed Razek was forced to retire from his role after making ill-judged comments in a Vogue interview about plus-size and transgender models.
After losing a good chunk of their clientele, it’s no secret that the lingerie company is struggling financially; in November 2019, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was cancelled after running annually for 20+ years.
Although Victoria’s Secret is still valued at a cool $1.1 billion and is unlikely to shut its doors anytime soon, customers should brace themselves for a possible depletion of Canadian locations in the near future.
With Canadian greeting card giants Carlton Cards and Papyrus both closing their doors in January, retail stores are facing a tough time in the current economy — and nobody is immune to the effects.