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Victoria's Secret 2019 fashion show cancelled as sales and viewership slump

British model Alexina Graham walks the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. photo: Getty Images

The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will not go ahead this year in light of slumping sales and viewership, as well as mounting criticism.

Parent company L Brands (LB) said the decision to cancel the show was part of a move to “evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret”, as sales dropped 7.6% to $1.41bn (£1.10bn) in the third quarter of the year.

Thanks to a steady decline in performance, 53 Victoria’s Secret stores across the US are set to close this year.

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What’s more, viewership of the televised fashion show has steadily declined from a whopping 12 million in 2001 – when it made its TV debut – to just 3.3 million in 2018.

It has also drawn criticism for being “sexist” and “outdated”.

When asked if the show would be taking place, during the company’s third quarter earnings call, Stuart Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer of L Brands, said: “We'll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show.

Models including Kendall Jenner, Izabel Goulart and Barbara Fialho applaud at the end of the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Photo: Getty Images

“We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret,” he added.

"Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business while we focus on ensuring that our merchandise resonates with customers," L Brands said in its latest earnings report.

Shanina Shaik revealed to the Australian Daily Telegraph earlier this year that the annual fashion show would not be going ahead. The Victoria’s Secret angel appeared in the show seven times, starting with her debut in 2011.

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She said: "Unfortunately the Victoria's Secret show won't be happening this year. It's something I'm not used to because every year around this time I'm training like an angel."

L Brands hired their first transgender model Valentina Sampaio (pictured) in August. Photo: Getty Images

The brand has recently come under fire for not using plus-size or transgender models in its shows.

Ed Razek, L Brand’s former chief marketing officer last year apologised for a highly-publicised interview with Vogue, in which he remarked that the fashion show should not feature plus-size or trans models because “it’s a fantasy”.

Razek retired just days after the brand hired its first transgender model Valentina Sampaio in August this year.

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Meanwhile, Karlie Kloss, a former Victoria’s Secret angel, told British Vogue in July: “The reason I decided to stop working with Victoria’s Secret was I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.”

Leaving the brand was “a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist”, she added.