Companies previously owned by L Brands, including Victoria’s Secret

L Brands Inc. operates a professional retail business, focusing on underwear and other apparel, personal care and beauty categories. The company is headquartered in Ohio and was founded in 1963 by Leslie “Les” Wexner. In 1982, L Brands (then known as The Limited Inc.) was listed on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time.

Key points

  • L Brands is a global professional retail holding company that specializes in women’s clothing and beauty products.
  • L Brand’s subsidiaries include brands such as Victoria’s Secret, PINK and Bath & Body Works. Previous brands include The Limited, Express, La Senza and Henri Bendel.
  • The company has also invested in other well-known brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and White Barn Candle.
  • In the summer of 2021, L Brands divested Victoria’s Secret and other holding companies and renamed itself Bath & Body Works.

On August 2, 2021, L Brands completed the split of Victoria’s Secret business into an independent listed company through a tax-free spin-off to L Brands shareholders. The new company is called Victoria’s Secret & Co., and its subsidiaries include Victoria’s Secret underwear, PINK and Victoria’s Secret Beauty. Victoria’s Secret & Co. is a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol VSCO. At the same time as this announcement, L Brands was renamed Bath & Body Works, Inc., and the trading code is now BBWI.


L Brands has grown rapidly, expanding its brand through organic growth and acquisitions. However, the company has been hit hard in recent years, and it is difficult for Victoria’s Secret to keep up with the competition. The company’s stock was one of the worst performing stocks in 2018.

L Brands sold its famous brand store The Limited and brother brand Express in 2007, and no longer represents its original business. As of July 2021, the board of directors has approved a motion to split Victoria’s Secret & Co. and Bath & Body Works into two companies. The company’s name will be changed from L Brands, Inc. to Bath & Body Works, Inc., and the new stock symbol will be BBWI. The new stock symbol of Victoria’s Secret is VSCO. The name change took place on August 2, 2021, and the stock code is currently available for trading.

Many of the companies it acquired in its history no longer belong to its name. The company sold its La Senza lingerie chain to private equity firm Regent in December 2018. In addition, due to financial difficulties, L Brands closed its Henri Bendel brand in January 2019.

In August 2021, L Brands divested Victoria’s Secret and other brands, and only retained Bath & Body Works.

Victoria’s Secret

L Brands bought Victoria’s Secret for $1 million in 1982. Its assets include six stores and a catalog. L Brands has expanded this brand into one of the most well-known global underwear brands in the world. L Brands opened its first store in the UK in 2012, bringing Victoria’s Secret to the world. To further expand its global business, in 2017, Victoria’s Secret opened its first full-category store in Shanghai, China.

As the flagship product of the former American shopping mall, Victoria’s Secret has shifted its focus to e-commerce on, making its products available to customers almost anywhere in the world. As of January 30, 2021, the brand has opened 871 stores in North America, with revenue of $5.4 billion in 2020. Victoria’s Secret ranks first in the U.S. underwear market with a market share of about 20%.

In addition to expanding its geographic scope, L Brands has also added products other than underwear, because Victoria’s Secret sells perfume and body care products, and has a sports line. Victoria’s Secret brands include PINK, which offers clothing, pajamas and underwear for college-age consumers. PINK products can be purchased not only in Victoria’s Secret retail stores and website, but also in the brand’s own independent store and website Loyal customers can join PINK Nation, which is a free membership-based online community that covers all the content of PINK.

A smaller concept, the 1,000-square-foot Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Accessories Store (VSBA), focuses on perfumes, body care and accessories, and exists in airports and shopping malls. On May 14, 2020, L Brands appointed Andrew Meslow as its new chief executive officer, and Sarah Nash was appointed chairman of the board of directors. Les Wexler officially left the board of directors and the company in March 2021.

Bathing and body engineering

Bath & Body Works provides personal care, soap, disinfectant and household perfume products. As of January 31, 2021, there are 1,736 Bath & Body Works stores worldwide. The brand is a top brand of hand sanitizers, hand sanitizers and moisturizers, and is also the number one professional household perfume retailer in the United States. With a strong store and online business, the brand has generated $6.4 billion in revenue in 2020. Julie B. Rosen becomes the president and CEO of the brand in fiscal year 2020.

L Brands was renamed Bath & Body Works after reorganization in 2021.

Former brands under L Brands

Canadian underwear brand La Senza is one of L Brands’ acquisitions, but L Brands announced in December 2018 that it had reached an agreement with private equity firm Regent to acquire 100% of La Senza’s assets and agreed to assume its responsibilities. The company continues to operate in Canada and other countries around the world, with physical stores and online stores. L Brands estimates that La Senza will achieve sales of approximately US$250 million and an operating loss of approximately US$40 million by the end of 2018.

In September 2018, L Brands announced that it would close Henri Bendel in January 2019, at the end of the 2018 holiday shopping period. The company closed its website and closed all its 23 stores, including its iconic Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Founded in 1895, Henri Bendel is a retailer of high-end handbags, accessories and gifts, including iconic home fragrance collections. Headquartered in New York City, Bendel is the first luxury retailer located in the upper part of Fifth Avenue.

other brands

Although not part of L Brands, the company has obtained distribution rights for CO Bigelow and The White Barn Candle Company. L Brands increased its exposure by acquiring companies, but also sold many of the companies it had acquired in its history.

Some well-known stores that used to be named L Brands but are now owned (at least most) by other companies include:

  • Lane Bryant, sold to Charming Shoppes in 2002
  • Express, sold 75% ownership in 2007
  • The flagship brand The Limited sold 75% of its ownership to Sun Capital Partners in 2007, and the remaining 25% was sold in 2010


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