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Victoria's Secret Cancels This Year's Fashion Show

Model Gigi Hadid walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in New York.
Evan Agostini
Invision/Associated Press
Model Gigi Hadid walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in New York.

Lingerie models for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show won't be walking down the runway this holiday season.

L Brands Chief Financial Officer Stu Burgdoerfer told analysts on a Thursday morning earnings call that the show would not take place this year.

"We will be communicating to customers, but nothing similar in magnitude to the fashion show, but you can be sure we'll be communicating with customers through lots of vehicles including social media and various, more current platforms, if you will," Burgdoerfer said, according to a transcript of the call provided by L Brands.

However, a company representative said they're optimistic the show isn't canceled for good.

L Brands founder Les Wexner notified employees earlier this year that the company was considering the future of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. 

"Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow," said Wexner in a May 2019 memo, provided to WOSU by L Brands. "With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit."

Burgdoerfer said on Thursday's call that the television production did not improve short-term sales.

Last year, the televised program had its smallest audience since the holiday-season event started in 2001.  Critics thought the show no longer fit into an era where many clothing makers want to be more inclusive. 

Company officials also took criticism and eventually apologized for saying Victoria’s Secret would not include transgender or plus-sized models because it was selling a fantasy.

L Brands reported more than $150 million in operating losses in the third quarter of 2019.  The company’s other lines such as Pink and Bath & Body Works continue to show strong growth.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.