I am not sure exactly when Victoria’s Secret became such a big thing. It only seems like a few years ago nobody in the UK had even heard of it, but now it is one of those brands you can’t get away from. This is quite an achievement given that it is still has a fairly small footprint on the British high street, with only a few stores in the big cities. So when I ended up spending a few hours in Copenhagen airport last week I was intrigued enough to pay a visit to their outlet. The interesting thing was just how much space was devoted not to the underwear for which they are so well known, but to fragrances and skincare – all of which was branded as Victoria’s Secret.
This interested me sufficiently to mull it over. There is obviously a thematic connection between lingerie and perfume in the sense that you tend to put them on at the same time. Nonetheless, when you have such a strong image for doing knickers and bras it isn’t at all obvious that doing something that requires a totally different set of expertise is something that makes sense.
My conclusion was that fragrance is simply such a profitable thing to sell, that it is crowding out the underwear. There are some big advantages to it. You don’t have to stock a range of colours and sizes to suit the tastes and the constitution of different customers. Fashions don’t change so quickly. And for a store in an expensive location like the middle of London, you won’t need to pay for so much time looking after the stock.
That at any rate, is what I imagine the thinking is. I shared this mainly to let you know if you ever happen to come across me wondering around a lingerie store looking intensely at what is on sale with a thoughtful look on my face, don’t jump to any conclusions about what I am thinking.