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Victoria’s Secret admits summer swimwear missteps but growing sport offer is strong

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In a rare admission of a misstep, L Brands said summer swimwear sales at its star Victoria’s Secret brand were disappointing.

The brand’s CEO Sharen Turney, on a conference call with analysts, described the issue as “fashion misses”.

“We did it to ourselves,” she said. “The business is there and we messed it up,” Columbus Business First reported her a saying.

Turney said the category performed well in Q1, but rather than continuing with what was selling in those months, the company brought out new product that customers didn’t take to.

Swimwear accounts for around $500m of the brand’s $7.2bn business.

On the positive side, its sport business, one of the other niche categories Victoria’s Secret is seeking to grow, exceeded expectations with sales up by a low double-digit percent, driven by bras.

Only a few hundred of Victoria’s Secret’s 1,000 stores carry the full sport assortment, but Turney said another 100 are getting it this year and 100 more by spring 2016.

Sales of the retailer’s core lines of bras, panties and its youth Pink brand all remained strong.

The overall bra category, including Victoria’s Secret, Pink and Sport, rose by a low double-digits with Victoria’s Secret bras in specific up by a high single digit.

The company remains pleased with its decision to axe some product categories, such as apparel and make-up, in favour of focusing on its core offer.

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