M&S checks out Victoria’s Secret

Marks and Spencer is eyeing the UK arm of troubled lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, one of several high street chains to have fallen into administration during the lockdown.

The retailer, which sells one in three bras bought in the UK, has expressed an interest in the British arm of the lingerie brand but has not yet communicated any intent, said one person briefed on the details. Next is also among brands to have looked into the possibility, as was first reported by Sky News.

Both retailers declined to comment, while Victoria’s Secret UK said it was still working with administrators at Deloitte to “review a range of possible outcomes”.

Victoria’s Secret collapsed into administration three weeks ago, putting roughly 800 jobs at risk. It has since reopened about a third of its 25 UK stores. The group’s online store is not owned or operated by the company and has not been affected by the administration.

The lingerie brand famous for its flashy fashion shows joined the ranks of other high street chains, such as Monsoon and Cath Kidson, which have also appointed administrators during the lockdown. Some brands, such as fashion retailers Oasis and Warehouse, have failed to find buyers and will close their stores permanently, with online rival Boohoo buying their intellectual property.

Victoria’s Secret has also faced trouble in the US, where it is one of the country’s largest lingerie retailers. Last month, the brand’s owner L Brands and Sycamore Partners called off a $525m deal that would have given the private equity group a majority stake in the lingerie retailer.

M&S, which holds a 27 per cent UK market share in lingerie, last year set up a joint venture with online supermarket Ocado, through which it is planning to sell about 1,600 everyday essential clothing lines and introduce guest clothing brands, hoping to make £100m of additional revenue in two years.


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