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L Brands to separate Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret into independent companies

The Board said the separation will allow business to achieve its best opportunities for growth.
Credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
A Victoria's Secret store and a Bath & Body Works store, both part of the Limited Brands corporation, are open and waiting for customers n Flowood, Miss., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — L Brands Inc. announced Tuesday it plans to separate Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret into two independent companies.

In a release, The Board of Directors said that the decision would provide shareholders with more value than a sale.

“In the last ten months, we have made significant progress in the turnaround of the Victoria’s Secret business, implementing merchandise and marketing initiatives to drive top line growth, as well as executing on a series of cost reduction actions, which together have dramatically increased profitability,”, Chair of the Board Sarah Nash said in a statement.

The Board said the separation will allow business to achieve its best opportunities for growth.

According to L Brands, the retail company has been evaluating the possibility of a spin-off or sale of Victoria’s Secret in the past.

Victoria's Secret was to be sold to Sycamore Partners last year for about $525 million, but the private equity firm sued to get out of the deal citing the coronavirus pandemic. At that point, Victoria's Secret was forced to close stores and sales, which had been falling as the brand fell out of favor, evaporated. 

Victoria's Secret has been trying to turn its business around, with an eye on changing the corporate culture, reinventing fashions and redesigning stores. While the brand had been known for its sexy style, women have increasingly shifted toward more comfortable options, particularly during the pandemic when many have spent most of their time at home.

The split becomes official in August if approved by the board at L Brands. Shares of the company fell 2.8% in early trading on Tuesday.

Les Wexner stepped down as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board in 2020.