By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business)Victoria’s Secret plans to close 53 stores this year as more women desert the brand for lingerie startups and big retailers.Sales at stores open at least a year fell 7% during Victoria’s Secret’s most recent quarter, parent company L Brands (LB) said Wednesday. The company’s other flagship brand, Bath and Body Works, did well.Other retailers, including Walmart (WMT) and Best Buy (BBY), have performed strongly in recent months. And the economy is strong. But Victoria’s Secret and its teen brand PINK have struggled.Victoria’s Secret has failed to adapt to consumer demand for more custom-fitted bras and inclusive messaging and advertisements. Although marketing trends in lingerie have changed, Victoria’s Secret has mostly stuck to the same playbook that helped it dominate the industry: push-up bras and celebrity models.Victoria’s Secret relied on heavy promotions to draw customers to its stores during the holidays — the types of discounts that generally hurt margins. L Brands CEO Stuart Burgdoefer said the company has been “more promotional than we would like over the last several years” in a call with analysts Thursday.The difficult holiday period and planned store closures are the latest turmoil for the brand.In November, Victoria’s Secret’s CEO resigned. In December, its annual fashion show sunk to its worst ratings ever. The company closed 30 stores last year as it tried to escape weak malls.