: Victoria’s Secret launches women-focused brand ambassador panel that includes Megan Rapinoe and Priyanka Chopra Jonas ahead of business separation

L Brands Inc. has announced a board for its stand-alone Victoria’s Secret business comprising mostly women, and a panel of women brand ambassadors, the VS Collective, actions that move the brand in a new direction as it prepares to separate from Bath & Body Works and operate as a stand-alone business.

The board is expected to be formed when Victoria’s Secret separates from Bath & Body Works, a plan that was announced in May but has been in the works for more than a year.

The board will include: Irene Chang Britt, a former executive at Campbell Soup Co.

; Jacqueline Hernández, former chief marketing officer for Hispanic content at NBCUniversal; and Anne Sheehan, former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee.

See: American Eagle sales could quadruple as shoppers shift from sweats to mom jeans

L Brands

lists just one man on the board: Martin Waters, Victoria’s Secret’s chief executive.

L Brands also announced the formation of the VS Collective, a panel of brand ambassadors that includes famous names like U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe; actor, producer and author Priyanka Chopra Jonas; and Paloma Elsesser, a model and body-positive advocate.

The VS Collective aims to “build new, deeper relationships with all women,” said Martha Pease, Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “[W]e’re
bringing new dimensions to our brand experience.”

Introducing The VS Collective – Adut Akech, Amanda de Cadenet, Eileen Gu, Megan Rapinoe, Paloma Elsesser, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Valentina Sampaio

Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret had fallen out of favor with many customers because of its “very sexy” reputation, which has run counter to the size inclusive, body-positive and diverse messaging that has driven growth and loyalty at brands like American Eagle Outfitters Inc.’s

Aerie brand. For many women, the brand seemed to be geared toward a male audience rather than women customers.

The VS Collective will work on product collections, content and communicate through a variety of cultural and business relationships. For example, another member of the VS Collective, Amanda de Cadenet, a journalist and equality advocate, will host a podcast series focused on the experiences of other members of the panel.

The company is also launching The VS Global Fund for Women’s Cancers, which will invest in research for women’s cancers, support women scientists, and help to address racial and gender inequalities. Victoria’s Secret is partnering with fashion designer Stella McCartney on this effort.

Even before the announcement, Victoria’s Secret had been experiencing a turnaround, with L Brands most recently reporting a quarterly profit, a separation from Les Wexner and other steps.

“The pricing data shows Victoria’s Secret’s promotions are declining at a surprisingly fast rate,” wrote UBS analysts in a July 10 note.

“This boosts our confidence the Victoria’s Secret (VS) turnaround is real and we
continue to believe the gains made at Bath & Body Works last year are much more
sustainable than the Street thinks.”

UBS rates L Brands stock buy with a $104 price target.

“The current strength of the two brands is impressive and helps reassure the spinoff, but this is an unprecedented time in retail with many macro conditions fueling consumer spending,” wrote Wedbush analysts in a note following last month’s earnings announcement.

“The spinoff will allow for the two individual companies to focus sharply as stated by management, but the many synergies L brands now enjoys must be overcome.”

Wedbush rates L Brands stock neutral with a $65 price target.

L Brands shares fell 1.8% in Thursday trading, but has rallied nearly 69% for the year to date.

The benchmark S&P 500 index

is up 12.4% for 2021 so far.

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