Victoria’s Secret was founded by Roy Raymond in 1977 in San Francisco, California.
According to founder Roy Raymond, he had been embarrassed while buying lingerie for his wife in a department store and wanted to create a store where men would feel comfortable shopping for their wives.
Raymond studied the lingerie market for 8 years before borrowing $40,000 from his parents and $40,000 from the bank and opening his first store in Palo Alto, California.
In its first year of business, Victoria’s Secret grossed $500,000.
In 1983 Wexner discarded the model of selling to male customers and changed the focus to selling to women.
By 1986 Wexner had transformed the brand and Victoria’s Secret had 346 stores.
In 2000, the company had 1,000 stores and accounted for one-third of all purchases in the intimate apparel industry.
Victoria’s Secret is a subsidiary of L Brands and accounts for more than 40% of sales for its parent company. The company sells lingerie, hosiery, swimwear, shoes, beauty products, perfume, sleepwear, and sweats. Victoria’s Secret had sales of $6.12 billion in 2012.
As of 2015, the company had 1,017 company-owned stores and 18 independently owned locations. Victoria’s Secret had annual revenue in 2015 of $12.5 billion, worldwide.
In May 2016, the company announced that it would discontinue their swimwear, clothing, shoes, and other accessories in order to focus on fragrances, sleepwear, and lingerie. Summer of 2016 will be the last time these items will be sold.
The company’s longtime CEO, Sharon Jester Turney, suddenly quit in early February of 2016, in order to “prioritize her family life”. Les Wexner has again returned as CEO until a replacement can be found.