Victoria's Secret fashion show cancelled as marketing plans 'evolve'

Amid failing ratings a loss of customers, CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer confirmed that the ubiquitous Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has been cancelled.

Decision comes amid lowering ratings and loss of customers

Performers and models on the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York City. Once the most-watched fashion event of the year, executives announced it has been cancelled. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

The annual Victoria's Secret fashion show, known for its jewel-encrusted bras and supermodels sporting angel wings, will not be held this holiday season, parent L Brands Inc said on Thursday.

The decision comes after the apparel retailer said in May the TV special was not going to be part of network television as the company evaluates its marketing strategy for the show.

Once the destination for all things lingerie, the brand has been losing customers as more women shift to cheaper bralettes and sports bras from companies like American Eagle Outfitter's Aerie and pop singer Rihanna's lingerie line, Savage X Fenty.

A model dressed as an angel flies through the air during the Victoria's Secret Christmas Dreams and Fantasies 2001 fashion show November 2001. That show drew more than 12 million American viewers, far more than recent shows. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Television audiences for the show have slumped in the last few years. The December 2018 show, aired on Walt Disney Co's ABC network, was watched by 3.3 million Americans, compared with 12 million in 2001 when it was first broadcast. Those numbers represent its lowest ratings since its inception in 1995, and came on the heels of controversial statements by executive Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands.

In an interview with Vogue, Razek stated that the show should not have plus-sized or transgender models in the show, "because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special."

Razek later apologized, and stepped down from the company a year later. 

When asked if the fashion show would be held this holiday season, Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer said: "No, we'll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show."

"We think it's important to evolve the marketing of Victoria's Secret," he said on the earnings call on Thursday.

The company, which forecast an upbeat holiday season on Wednesday, said it was not commenting further at this time.