Throughout much of the 1990s, Victoria’s Secret took pride in cluttering customers’ and prospects’ mailboxes with countless editions of its catalogs. This strategy went over just fine with the men in the family, and it didn’t hurt the cataloger’s sales either; revenue nearly doubled between 1993 and 1998, from $436 million to $760 million. Just a little more than a year ago, in fact, Cindy Fields, president/CEO of the catalog division, told Catalog Age that she hoped the business would reach $1 billion by 2004.
But beginning in mid-1998, the company slashed its catalog circulation 30%, in an effort to bolster earnings. Then last fall, recognizing that it had saturated the U.S. market, Victoria’s Secret announced it would look abroad for more aggressive growth. In the meantime, a TV ad campaign featuring the same voluptuous models as the print catalog and a fashion show broadcast live on the Internet increased Victoria’s Secret’s already-high profile.