jerryking + leslie_wexner   2

Les Wexner, the man behind Victoria’s Secret
Barney Jopson MARCH 30, 2018

Propped against the wall are boards from recent presentations about customer loyalty schemes and the nearby Easton open-air shopping complex, which was conceived by Wexner, a staunch and often lonely defender of bricks-and-mortar retail....Since his existential crisis, Wexner has devoted part of his time and fortune to philanthropy, funding leadership training and the Wexner Center for the Arts and Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, his alma mater.....The typical lifespan of a fashion business, Wexner says, is 15 years. Most retail chains, whatever they sell, don’t survive beyond 20 or 30 years. Yet Wexner has been in charge for 55 years. Behind him in the Fortune 500 longevity stakes is Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has run Berkshire Hathaway for a mere 53. The key to survival, Wexner says, is to reinvent yourself as your shoppers evolve. “When the customer zigs, you zig.”

But he is facing his stiffest trial yet. Amazon, which has conquered a series of retail categories, is now getting into underwear. Online-only lingerie specialists are trying to steal Victoria’s Secret customers....His eventual point is that most people want to express their individuality, which has a lot to do with sexuality, which means lingerie is loaded with powerful “emotional content” for women.......I talk about the predictive power of data and algorithms (one of Amazon’s great assets) but he pooh-poohs their relevance. The response is similarly dismissive when I ask Wexner — who did not marry his lawyer wife Abigail until he was 55 — whether he sourced lingerie ideas from the women he dated. “N-n-nooo,” he says. “You can’t ask. Fashion is about latent demand. You can’t research it. If I say, ‘what colour are you going to buy next fall?’, no one is going to say, ‘I think purple’s going to be a great colour’.”
........He says the death of shops has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, 9,000 US stores closed last year by some estimates. Sure, habits are changing. People used to wile away four hours at the mall and visit 20 stores. Now they skip the mediocre shops and make a beeline for just one or two, Wexner says. But humans are still “pack animals” who like to mingle. And where they go, they spend more. Amazon is great for buying commodity products when you know exactly what you want. But fashion stores are about stumbling upon “things you haven’t seen before”, Wexner says. The doom-mongers are looking at average sales across all shops. “I think they’re missing the wheat from the chaff,” he says.
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Leslie_Wexner  Victoria's_Secret  moguls  CEOs  entrepreneur  retailers  L_Brands  intimate_apparel  personal_care_products  lingerie  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking

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