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Victoria’s Secret restructures, cuts 200 jobs


L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret division had a record year in 2015, which is why chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner believes now is the best time to narrow the brand’s focus and simplify the operating model to drive long-term growth.

L Brands announced a series of broad changes at its $7.7 billion Victoria’s Secret division in conjunction with the release of solid sales results for the five week period ended April 2. The company said it plans to streamline it organization by eliminating the jobs of approximately 200 people at its Columbus, Ohio and New York offices, split the division into three business units, eliminate certain merchandise categories and integrate its direct business as a primarily digital channel.

The changes come two months after former Victoria’s Secret CEO Sharen Jester Turney announced plans to leave the company after 16 years in key leadership positions, including the past 10 as CEO of the brand. Wexner assumed leadership of Victoria’s Secret after Turney’s departure. Under the newly announced organizational structure the heads of the Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, PINK and Victoria’s Secret Beauty units will report to Wexner.

“Coming off a record year, now is the best time to make improvements -- going from best to even better,” said Wexner. “We are making these changes to accelerate our growth and to strengthen the business for the long term by narrowing our focus and simplifying our operating model. I am certain that these changes are necessary for our industry-leading brands to reach their significant potential.”

Other elements of the streamlining effort include integrating the direct business as a primarily digital channel within the Victoria’s Secret and PINK businesses to align with how customers engage with the brands, according to the company. Certain undisclosed categories of merchandise also will be eliminated as the brand refocuses on core merchandise categories where it believes the greatest growth potential exists.

Lastly, the company said it will evolve how the business connects with customers through a greater focus on loyalty programs and brand-building engagement rather than traditional catalogs and offers.

The announcement by the company on April 7 was lacking in specifics about the new direction, but further information will be provided when L Brands reports quarterly results on May 19.

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