Victoria's Secret may hold fashion show overseas next year

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is making its London debut this year and could go overseas again next year.

Sharen Turney, CEO of the L Brands lingerie chain, spoke of the possible move during the Columbus-based retailer’s conference call with Wall Street analysts about its third-quarter financials, released yesterday.

“It is one of the highest-rated shows around the world,” Turney said. “It continues to reach far beyond the holiday season.”

The show, which will air Dec. 9 on CBS, is “getting great buys” from advertisers, she said, and the company’s publicity machine is working to spread the show’s popularity, planning viewing parties and other events around the world.

“This is actually the second time the show has gone international,” Turney said. “The first (overseas) show was in Cannes.”

As to an overseas location again next year: “The world is our play station, so you never know.”

Turney and other L Brands executives were just as cagy about their expectations for the holiday shopping season, saying they were “cautiously optimistic” even as they boasted about record sales and profit in the third quarter.

At Victoria’s Secret, “We have taken all the necessary steps to be well-prepared and well-positioned for the fourth quarter,” Turney said. “This year, we have a lot of things planned. We’re going to read the business day by day. ... We’re going to take full advantage of the holiday season as best we can.”

Overseas, “We go into the holiday season with decent momentum,” said Martin Waters, president of international operations. “At this time last year, we were expecting to open (LaSenza) stores in 2014,” in the United States, but then the holiday season was disappointing and the company dropped that plan.

“So we’ll see how the holidays play out,” Waters said.

During the third quarter, many retailers struggled with a drop in store traffic. L Brands, on the other hand, had record sales, net income and earnings per share for that quarter.

The company earned $131.8 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $2.3 billion.

“It was another amazing execution quarter across the board,” said analyst Thomas Filandro of Susquehanna Financial Group.

At least some of the results could be attributed to the company’s “speed inititiative,” an effort to bring merchandise to market quickly, said Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer.

Analysts at Zacks Equity Research wrote in a note to investors that there were several factors behind the third-quarter results.

“We believe that L Brands’ sustained focus on cost containment, inventory management, merchandise and speed-to-market initiatives have kept it afloat in a sluggish consumer environment,” Zacks Equity Research analysts said.

The main reason for the good results was that the company is “staying close to our customer and maintaining our intense focus on the fundamentals,” said Leslie H. Wexner, founder and CEO of L Brands,

“The power of our brands and our core categories of lingerie and personal care continue to set us apart in the retail landscape,” Wexner said.

tferan@dispatch.com

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