Last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the founder of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company was in talks to step down as CEO and potentially sell the brand. New reports this morning indicate that Victoria’s Secret could be sold to a private-equity investor as early as this week. The company has been rife with challenges in recent years, losing the widespread relevance it once held in the late 90s and early aughts.

Last February, CivicScience conducted a study analyzing women’s favorability to Victoria’s Secret, and how it fared against a rising competitor in the intimate apparel space: Target. 

The study found women were twice as favorable to Target than Victoria’s Secret when it came to bras, underwear, and sleepwear. 

Looking at this year’s numbers, even more U.S. women 18+ would choose Target (75% compared to last year’s 68%) over VS, which fell to just one-fourth of women.

According to CivicScience’s syndicated brand question tracking Victoria’s Secret, overall sentiment among women has shifted since January 2019. Favorability has remained flat, so though it’s not all bad news for the brand, it’s still not so great. Neutrality has increased somewhat since Q3 of 2019, by three percentage points. What’s interesting is the number of women unfavorable to VS has declined, though only slightly, since their announcement to shut the annual fashion show last November.

It remains to be seen if and how, after its sale, VS can recultivate a brand that can generate new appeal, especially among younger generations, and reach heights similar to the heyday it once was. As things are in motion, CivicScience will conduct a study to measure consumer perception. 

With intimate apparel being a multi-billion dollar category that’s only growing, CivicScience will release an expansive study next week looking at bra and underwear shopping preferences. 

Image credit: Eva’s Intimates.