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Victoria's Secret closing 53 stores after poor holiday sales

Victoria's Secret will close 53 stores this year as the lingerie chain continues to lose ground to the competition, which includes startups and large retailers.

A disappointing holiday showing preceded the planned cutbacks, with sales at stores open at least a year falling 7 percent during the quarter, parent company L Brands said late Wednesday. 

"Given the decline in performance at Victoria's Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history," L Brands said in the earnings commentary. 

Shares of L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, closed Thursday's session down 4.6 percent, after falling as much as 8.9 percent during the day. 

Victoria's Secret has struggled as competitors including Rihanna's company Savage X Fenty appeared on the lingerie scene. Retailing giant Target is also throwing its hat into the lingerie mix, saying this week it would launch three private-label under and sleepwear brands.  

Critics contend Victoria's Secret is particularly out of touch in the current #MeToo climate.

L Brands' chief market officer, Ed Razek, sparked a backlash late last year when he rejected the idea of using plus-size or transgender models, a position he later apologized for. 

"To eliminate certain categories from your marketing is just completely crazy to me," wrote Heidi Zak, co-CEO of the lingerie company ThirdLove, which took out a newspaper ad condemning Razek's remarks.

L Brands tapped John Mehas to lead a turnaround of Victoria's Secret in late November, making the former president of luxury brand Tory Burch the third person to lead the company since 2016.

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