Victoria's Secret on Monday announced that the company is bringing back swim, a category it dropped in 2016 to focus on beauty, bras and Pink.
In addition to Victoria's Secret Swim, the online-exclusive collection will feature other brands including Seafolly, Lucky Brand, Lascana, BCBGeneration and Kenneth Cole. While the swimwear is limited to the lingerie brand's website, the company is releasing a new assortment of sunglasses to be sold both online and in select stores, according to a company press release.
The company also announced that the faces of the Swim campaign will be several supermodels: Sara Sampaio, Jasmine Tookes, Romee Strijd, Grace Elizabeth, Lorena Rae, Aiden Curtiss, Megan Williams and Maya Stepper.
The removal of swim back in 2016 has continued to be a sore spot for the lingerie arm of L Brands.
In a December sales report, the company noted that its decision to end swim and apparel sales resulted in a negative impact of about three percentage points to total company comparable sales and five percentage points to Victoria's Secret comparable sales.
However, the announcement to bring back swim, something executive vice president and CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer alluded to in a November earnings call, doesn't come without limitations, as the collection is not currently available in stores. The move could further indicate that the brand is placing a greater focus on its e-commerce business after parent company L Brands announced last month that it's shuttering 53 Victoria's Secret stores.
Victoria's Secret is also feeling pressure as consumers are becoming less in favor of the "sexy" brand image it represents and looking more toward comfort and performance, something Aerie and direct-to-consumer brand ThirdLove are capitalizing on. Earlier this month, American Eagle Outfitters reported that Aerie comp sales soared 23% in the fourth quarter. And Victoria's Secret's move to feature supermodels in its campaign comes as a stark contrast to its competitor's #AerieREAL campaign, which promotes body positivity.
But, the fact that Victoria's Secret is offering outside brands in its swim category is interesting, according to Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel. "VS relaunched swim on their website with their own brands as well as other companies’ brands. And within this launch, based on our check, VS branded swimwear represented fewer than 15% of the searchable assortment," he said in an email to Retail Dive.
Time will tell if the resurgence of its swim category will be enough to satisfy consumers.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Victoria's Secret's online market share in the swim category.