L Brands plans to close 53 Victoria’s Secret stores. STAFF PHOTO / HOLLY SHIVELY

Victoria’s Secret closing more than 50 stores

Victoria’s Secret will close 53 stores in North America this year after a disappointing holiday quarter.

The 53 store closures add to 30 closed in 2018, both above the company’s average closure rate of 15 per year, according to a statement from parent company L Brands. Comparable sales across the company’s brands, which also include Pink, were up 3 percent.

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L Brands did see earnings above initial guidance driven by strong performance at Bath & Body works, but operating income was more than offset by a decline at Victoria’s Secret, dropping from an adjusted $986.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 to $898.7 million last quarter.

“Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history,” the company said.

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Victoria’s Secret has opened 820 stores, closed 673 stores and sold 130 stores over the last 10 years. The company has recently struggled as consumer shopping habits shift and more stores enter the lingerie, intimates and sleepwear market.

There are stores at The Greene Town Center, Mall at Fairfield Commons, Dayton Mall, Liberty Town Square, Tri County Mall, Northgate Town Centre and Kenwood Towne Centre. There is also an L Brands call center that employs several thousand in Kettering.

L Brands is shifting focus to its more successful brand Bath & Body Works, while continuing plans to improve Victoria’s Secret’s performance. The company previously announced plans to close Henri Bendel and sell La Senza.

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