The Victoria’s Secret Beauty & Accessory (VSBA) retail outlets in question are all situated within malls or airports across China, and sell a selection of the brand’s beauty products and accessories.
Until now, they have been owned and operated by a domestic franchise partner within the country, but the move by L Brands to take on the stores suggests the US-based parent company is keen to assert itself in China.
Speaking as part of the company’s annual meeting, CEO Les Wexner described China as the brand’s “second home market”, with the company asserting it is now ready to take full control of its brand presence in the country.
Taking on the ‘heavy lifting’
According to the company, L Brands considers China to be a market which demands focus and attention from brands operating within it, due to the complexity of the market.
“As we look forward and we think about the scaling opportunity of the market and we combine that with the complexity [..] around regulatory affairs, how we build our stores, how we operate those stores, it seems to me that we’re going to be doing most of the heavy lifting anyway,” the company’s international president, Martin Waters, explained.
“It makes sense that we should be in it completely,” he confirmed.
Along with taking on responsibility for the current VSBA portfolio in the country, L Brands announced that it will also now launch flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing, develop its presence within the country’s malls, and foster a strong online sales model too.
China beauty regulation
Responding to the complexity of China’s beauty regulation is a savvy move on the part of L Brands, as for now, the country remains notoriously tricky to navigate for the industry.
However, industry insiders observe that the government is making moves to simplify regulation for beauty, and move towards a model of ‘industry-led’ regulation instead.
Speaking at the recent in-cosmetics Paris event, Dr Gerald Renner, director of technical regulatory affairs for Cosmetics Europe, explained that the ongoing shift will result in greater in-market control.