Facing store closures and falling sales, Victoria’s Secret owner may sell retailer

Leslie Wexner, who faced scrutiny for ties to Jeffrey Epstein, has owned the chain for decades

The owner of Victoria’s Secret is in talks to potentially sell the company, as sales fall at the iconic lingerie brand.

Leslie Wexner, who has built the retail empire of L Brands — the parent company of Victoria’s Secret — over nearly six decades, is also considering stepping aside as CEO, according to the Wall Street Journal. He reportedly could stay on as chairman.

A sale of the company could involve a full or partial sale of the Victoria’s Secret. The company has taken a hit in recent years as the retail sector faces headwinds. It is now valued $6 billion, down from its peak of $29 billion in 2015, and generates about $7 billion in annual sales.

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Last year, the company said it would shutter more than 50 stores and is expected to close more this year. In New York, Victoria’s Secret Soho store was recently put up for sale as retail rents in the neighborhood decline.

Wexner, who is 82, founded L Brands in 1963 and now oversees a vast retail portfolio, including Abercrombie & Fitch, The Limited, Bath & Body Works and Pink. He is L Brand’s biggest shareholder, with a roughly 17 percent stake.

Wexner more recently became entangled in the scandal around Jeffrey Epstein, who was in jail on sex trafficking charges before he died in custody last year. Wexner, who was a longtime client of Epstein’s, later said he “deeply regret ever crossing his path.” [WSJ] — David Jeans