US-based lingerie and fashion retailer Victoria’s Secret is relocating its downtown Vancouver flagship from 969 Robson Street (at the corner of Burrard Street and Robson Street) into the CF Pacific Centre. Landlord Cadillac Fairview has confirmed to Daily Hive that the retailer would be downsizing into the shopping centre.
The new Victoria’s Secret location will be 8,890 square feet and was recently vacated by Hollister, which opened its new 4,509 square foot location at the south end of the shopping centre earlier this month. The new Victoria’s Secret location will be across from The Body Shop and H&M and between Purdy’s Chocolates and Skechers on the lower level.
The former Downtown Vancouver location for Victoria’s Secret opened in 2013 and occupied 34,814 square feet over two levels. It was located in the Robson Central complex at the northeast corner of Robson and Burrard Streets. The basement level of the store was 20,815 square feet, while the ground floor was 13,999 square feet. The space was previously home to an HMV store and its second-level mezzanine had been removed to accommodate higher ceilings for Victoria’s Secret.
Victoria’s Secret substantially reduced its Canadian store count in 2020 following a temporary shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Parent company, L Brands, said at the time that it would permanently shutter 13 of Victoria’s Secret’s 38 Canadian stores, representing almost 35% of the Canadian fleet, as well as one Bath & Body Works location in the country.
Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 by Roy and Gaye Raymond. The inspiration came from Roy Raymond’s discomfort while purchasing lingerie for his wife in a department store. Seeking to create a more welcoming and specialized environment for such intimate purchases, the Raymonds opened the first Victoria’s Secret store in Palo Alto, California. The store was designed to feel like a Victorian boudoir, offering an elegant and comfortable space for both men and women to shop for lingerie. The brand quickly gained popularity for its luxurious and sophisticated products, leading to the expansion of its product line to include fragrances and body care products.
By the early 1980s, Victoria’s Secret had become a successful chain in the United States, and in 1982, it was acquired by Limited Brands (now known as L Brands), a retailing giant. Under the leadership of Leslie Wexner, the CEO of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret underwent a significant transformation. The brand shifted its focus towards a female audience, revamping its product line and marketing strategies. It introduced the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 1995, which became a major marketing tool and a global entertainment event. The show featured supermodels, known as “Angels,” and was instrumental in shaping the brand’s image as a purveyor of glamorous and sophisticated lingerie.
Victoria’s Secret’s expansion into the Canadian market began in 2010, with the opening of its first store in Edmonton, Alberta at West Edmonton Mall. The brand’s foray into Canada was part of its broader strategy to expand its international presence. Canadian customers welcomed the brand enthusiastically, leading to the opening of more stores across the country. In Canada, Victoria’s Secret offers a similar product range to that in the United States, including lingerie, beauty products, and the PINK line, which targets younger women. However, the brand has faced challenges in recent years, including changing consumer preferences and criticism over its lack of diversity and inclusivity. Despite these challenges, Victoria’s Secret continues to be a significant player in the lingerie market, both in the United States and internationally, including in Canada.