A few months ago, an NPD report came out saying that the bra of choice for the millennial woman is the sports bra or the crop top-style bralette. Now it seems that even the queen of the sexy push-up and padded bra, Victoria’s Secret, has got the message.
The retailer’s parent company, L Brands, had a tough time in Q1 as it struggled to convince trend-focused women to buy into a 1990s-style Wonderbra-like cleavage. It seems the cheaper prices, simple sizing and athleisure styling of the bralette were much more appealing. So in Q2 it offered up just that, and its sales benefitted as a result. Now it says its going to market bralettes/sports brand “very aggressively in the fall season.”
L Brand’s profit rose in Q2 (admittedly driven mostly by its Bath & Body Works unit) and its sales were up 5%. American Eagle had already seen how bralettes could boost sales as it got into the sub category early with its Aerie brand. So it’s no surprise that Victoria’s Secret is preparing to sell more unpadded bralettes.
But the downside is that the company’s margins are suffering. Selling a bra at $20 may be easier than selling one at $60 dollars but you need to sell three times as many to rake in the same revenue and margins on lower-priced items tend to be proportionately smaller.
Still, the company doesn’t have much choice as the trend cycle tips away from the kind of products that made its name so change is something that can’t be ducked. And given that Spanx’s former CEO is going to arrive to run the lingerie business for L Brands next month, it’s interesting to know what other changes will be ahead.
Whether it means the brand will move its famous Angels out of push-up bras and into sports brans one day is open to question, It gets so much publicity from its be-winged supermodel Angels so it’s unlikely. But you never know, stranger things have happened…