Originally focused on apparel, Limited Brands has evolved into a personal care, beauty, and lingerie company (more than 70% of sales in 2004). The company also owns apparel maker Mast Industries. Limited Brands is tightly controlled by founder and CEO Leslie Wexner, whose family owns about 17% of the company.
CEO Leslie Wexner has been actively trimming some of Limited Brands' roster of names. In 2001 the company sold its Lane Bryant chain to retail store operator Charming Shoppes. It also spun off its former subsidiaries, Alliance Data Systems (in which it retained about a 20% stake) and Galyan's Trading Co. (whose remaining 22% stake it sold off in 2004). With shrinking sales and store numbers in its apparel unit, The Limited, rumor has it, may be the next to go.
Limited Brands recently reorganized to focus on its star performers in the lingerie and beauty businesses. To that end, it has formed three groups: apparel, beauty and personal care, and lingerie. CEO Wexner leads the lingerie group, which includes Victoria's Secret, while COO Schlesinger now oversees beauty and personal care, including Bath & Body Works. New-hire Jay Margolis, formerly of Reebok International, oversees apparel, which includes Express and The Limited.
Gap- The company has built its brand on basic, casual styles for men, women, and children (T-shirts, jeans, and khakis), but over the years has expanded through the urban chic chain Banana Republic, fast-growing budgeteer Old Navy, and now Forth & Towne. Gap runs about 3,000 stores worldwide.
Sears- Beyond its more than 870 US mall-based stores, Sears has about 1,100 other locations nationwide. The company operates more than 800 independently owned Sears dealer stores in small towns and about 245 hardware stores, such as Orchard Supply Hardware and 160 Sears Hardware stores. Sears' stores sell apparel, tools, and appliances, and provide home services (remodeling, appliance repairs) under the Sears HomeCentral brand. Its Web site also sells appliances and tools.
TJX Companies- The TJX Companies, Inc. operates seven retail chains including the two largest off-price clothing retailers in the US, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. T.J. Maxx sells brand-name family apparel, accessories, women's shoes, domestics, giftware, and jewelry at discount prices at some 770 stores nationwide. Marshalls offers a full line of shoes and a broader selection of menswear through more than 690 stores. Its HomeGoods chain of 200-plus stores nationwide focuses entirely on home furnishings, while its more than 130 A.J. Wright clothing stores aim for lower-income shoppers. T.K. Maxx is the company's European retail arm with 170 stores in the UK and Ireland.
In the News
12/16/2005-Detroit Free Press, ALLIANCE AND LIMITED BRANDS KEEP THEIR ALLIANCE STRONG
Alliance Data Systems Corp. today announced that it has extended its contractual relationship with Limited Brands Inc., Alliance Data's oldest client and one of its two founding companies. The contract was scheduled to expire in 2009, but Alliance Data Systems and Limited Brands renegotiated the current contract early and extended it into 2012, an Alliance Data Systems' spokesperson tells CardLine. Limited Brands' companies are Victoria's Secret, The Limited, Express, Bath and Body Works, and Henri Bendl. Alliance Data Systems, a Dallas-based provider of transaction, credit and marketing services, will deploy new tools and resources to expand the brands' private-label card programs, the spokesperson says. In addition, Alliance Data will continue providing account acquisition and activation, receivables funding, card issuance, statement generation, loyalty marketing and other services to the companies. "Limited Brands is our longest-standing client relationship, and we are looking forward to taking this next step in our mutually beneficial relationship," Ivan Szeftel, Alliance Data's president of Retail Services, says in a statement. Alliance Data Systems was founded in 1996 with the merger of Limited Brands Inc.'s credit card bank operation and BSI Business Services Inc., which was the transaction services business of retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. At one time, Limited Commerce Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Limited Brands, was Alliance Data Systems' second-largest shareholder. In 2003, however, Limited Commerce Corp. sold all of its shares in Alliance Data Systems, the spokesperson says.
12/06/2005-Toronto Star, Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 'all about aspiration'
In the face of an advertising trend to use ordinary women in everyday situations, supermodels Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks will sashay down the runway on network television tonight dressed in lingerie and angel wings, while pop stars Seal and Ricky Martin play in the background.
After a one-year hiatus, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is back.
"The show just drives people into the stores," says Anthony Hebron, spokesman for Limited Brands Inc., which owns Victoria's Secret. The show, which was taped in November in New York, will air on CBS tonight and cost nearly $10 million (U.S.) to produce.
Despite making nearly 350 million media impressions in 2003, the marketing extravaganza took a break last year. Hebron attributes the gap partly to Janet Jackson's breast-baring incident at the Super Bowl that cost the CBS $550,000 in fines, but mainly to make the show "better and more integrated."