Victoria's Secret closing 53 stores this year

A general view of the atmosphere at Victoria's Secret in Costa Mesa California

Victoria's Secret is closing 53 stores in North America this year.

The lingerie icon's parent company, L Brands, announced a 7% drop in sales over their last quarter and 40% in the previous year - although the company's flagship brand, Bath and Body Works, continued to do well.

The brand has struggled in recent years - sales have slipped, and its provocative ads are being criticized by some as being tone-deaf in the era of #MeToo. "We have not met our own expectations for overall performance", L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said on the company's conference call.

It also said it would discontinue reporting monthly sales results and would close 53 stores.

In November, the company's CEO resigned, and in December, its annual fashion show saw the worst ratings ever.

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The impending closings are far more than the 15 stores the brand closes on average every year. How we go about it is we look at current and projected performance, sales, profit, cash flow. This would leave the chain with a total of 103 stores in the country. The Columbus, Ohio company also operates Bath & Body Works.

Net income came in at $540 million, or $1.94 per share, for the quarter, down from $664 million, or $2.33 per share a year earlier. Analysts had expected sales of $4.88 billion, Total sales at Victoria's Secret were $2.531 billion, down from $2.668 billion a year ago.

However, the company has not seen enough growth in the last quarter.

Wall Street reaction to the earnings announcement appeared negative Thursday, with shares in L Brands trading eight per cent lower at 10:30 a.m. than Wednesday's closing level.

In addition to the increase in closures, L Brands says it has "substantially pulled back on capital investment" at Victoria's Secret stores.

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