Ranked #1 in Fortune Magazine's Specialty Retail: Apparel category in 2011, Victoria’s Secret (“VS”) is a prominent brand headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. As a specialty apparel brand, VS has many strengths and relatively few weaknesses. First, VS is widely accessible. Currently, there are more than 1,000 VS retail stores opened in the United States and Canada. Furthermore, Limited Brands, parent company of VS, plans to expand VS internationally in the future -throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In 2009, Limited Brands made strides in international expansion by debuting the first six VS Travel and Tourism stores in airports and tourist destinations around the world. In addition to retail stores, VS products are also available via the VS catalogue and online at VS Direct (www.VictoriasSecret.com). Second, they have one of the strongest advertising strategies, if not the strongest, in the intimate apparel industry. A highlight of this advertising strategy is the annual VS Fashion show, a showpiece for the brand, and unmatched by any of their competitors. The VS “Angels”, the world’s leading fashion models, are instantly recognizable – from Adriana Lima to Chanel Iman. In 2011, over 10 million viewers watched the actual VS Fashion Show to catch a glimpse of the “Angels” in luxurious VS lingerie and sleepwear. Furthermore, millions more were exposed to the VS brand through media coverage of the VS Fashion Show. VS capitalizes on the association between the VS “Angels” and beauty, which makes consumers believe that buying and using VS products will also make them beautiful. Due to the widespread exposure the brand creates for itself, VS is able to leverage its name and use it on other products such as perfume and beauty products.
A weakness of VS brand is that some products are only available through one channel - the VS catalogue, and the products are not available in the retail stores. Customers are unable to try on dresses, shirts, and other clothing items that are available on VS Direct. A customer must buy the products through the VS Catalogue and if the product does not meet the customer’s needs, the customer must mail back the unwanted item. The product cannot be returned in the VS retail stores. This is a weakness the company should address. It would be much more convenient for customers if the products could be returned to the VS retail stores.
The VS brand is strongly positioned versus the competition. The elegant lingerie market is not saturated to VS’ advantage. Also, competitors of VS, such as Frederick’s of Hollywood, generally do not appeal to the same type of customer. Frederick’s evokes a different type of imagery, not the same classy and beautiful images that VS evokes. Another competitor for VS is department stores. For example, customers shop for lingerie and other intimate apparel at department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and JC Penny. However, the personalized customer service and the expert knowledge about the product is generally unmatched at department stores. II. Brand Report Card
* Deliver Benefits - The brand excels are delivering the benefits customers truly desire * Rating: 9 * Assessment: Customers go to VS because they know that the brand will make them not only look better but feel better as well. The personalized attention that a customer receives in the retail shops is key to making the customer feel very comfortable while shopping for lingerie, and makes the customer want to come back time after time. Also vanity sizing makes many women feel much more confident when shopping for items such as intimate apparel. * Relevant - The brand stays relevant * Rating: 9 * Assessment: The world’s leading supermodels are in VS advertisements. Previous VS “Angels” include household names, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum. There is no other specialty apparel brand that has so much clout with the