After 60 years in the making, Les Wexner's L Brands retail empire is no more as Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works go their separate ways as independent public companies. Wexner stepped down as CEO of L Brands in 2020 amid the controversy of his long-time relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and retired from the company's board earlier this year.
On Monday, the lingerie business, Victoria's Secret Beauty and Pink, officially separated from Bath & Body Works to be its own public company with each trading individually on the New York Stock Exchange. Victoria's Secret will trade under the ticker symbol "VSCO" while Bath & Body Works will trade under the new ticker symbol "BBWI." The company has 7,000 workers in Columbus, OH, and has reportedly divided up the Columbus office and operations spaces.
Bath & Body Works is now a stand-alone brand after several years of serving as a bright spot for the struggling L Brands. After three decades of building a business grounded in consistency, accessibility. and affordability, the chain is a rare mall-based retail success story.
“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and to launch Bath & Body Works as a standalone public company," said Andrew Meslow, Chief Executive Officer, Bath & Body Works. "Innovation remains at the foundation of Bath & Body Works, and with our leadership positions across key product categories, strong performance across channels, and highly loyal and growing customer base, we are poised to continue our track record of industry-leading growth and profitability. On behalf of the management team and the Board, I'd like to extend our sincere appreciation to all the associates who worked so hard on the successful spin-off of Victoria's Secret. I am grateful to all of our associates for their contributions to the success of our business as we look forward to capturing the opportunities ahead, and we wish the Victoria's Secret business and associates well as they embark on their journey as a standalone public company.”
Bath & Body Works' sales in 2020 amounted to $5.4 billion, intending to exceed $10 billion in annual revenue in the next three to five years. Building on the current momentum, the brand plans to expand into new categories including haircare, skincare, and home cleaning. According to Bath & Body Works estimates, the bath, body, and beauty market is worth $71 billion, and the company currently only has a 3 percent share.
“There's a lot of white space out there, where we can grow into new or adjacent categories, areas that the Bath & Body Works customer would love to see," Chief Financial Officer Wendy Arlin told CNBC in July. "We think that those are areas with opportunity to meaningfully drive our future results.”
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