Limited Brands is Merging Brands

Last night I had dinner with my Mom and Aunt who were in town for a choral conference. Since they live in Wausau, Wis. we chose to go to PF Chang’s at Mayfair Mall so they could shop afterwards. In an effort to save money I have been trying to avoid malls, so I was shocked when I walked into Bath and Body Works and found a selection of Victoria’s Secret products.

Let me clarify, they were not selling lingerie in Bath and Body. Instead, they had an entire table dedicated to Victoria’s Secret PINK beauty products.

I understand that Limited Brands (who owns both companies) has been having a hard time in this economy. Who hasn’t? But is it really necessary to start combining brands?

I have to wonder if there’s a better way to promote Victoria’s Secret’s beauty line. Bath and Body has always been a kid friendly store. Often times they carry products for young girls. Victoria’s Secret on the other hand is not. I wonder how Mom’s feel about introducing young girls to a brand that is clearly more naughty than nice. Is it ok because the Victoria’s Secret PINK line is more cute than sexy?

Instead of merging brands, I would rather Victoria’s Secret expand their beauty line. The beauty line has grown in recent years from a few perfumes and lotions to include candles, lip gloss, body wash and a range of cosmetics. Why not create a Victoria’s Secret Beauty store similar to the ALDO Accessories stores? If Victoria’s Secret wants to promote their beauty line they should work to become a true competitor in the beauty market.

Selling some of their products in Bath and Body just feels cheap. While their price points are similar, it still feels a bit like Vera Wang* trying to sell clothing at Kohl’s. It just doesn’t fit. Perhaps I’m a brand purist, but if I’m buying a Vera Wang dress I want to get it from Vera Wang. If I want to buy sexy beauty products, I want to buy them from Victoria’s Secret not her cute 12-year-old sister. It’s a fine line to walk. Too much merging and brands will start to lose their unique selling proposition. It’s hard to have a Victoria’s Secret experience in a Bath and Body Works store.

What do you think? Is Limited Brands making a smart move by cross-selling brands and products? Or are they confusing consumers with different brand promises?

Connect with me on Twitter @sarahsoczka.

*Note: The cheaper Vera Wang line at Kohl’s has been doing well.


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