SWOT ANALYSIS

Current Product/Service Mix

There are five brands owned by Limited Brands namely; Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath and Body Works, La Senza and Henri Bendel. The composition of Victoria’s Secret includes women intrinsic apparel, beauty products, sleepwear and hosiery etc. In the company’s sales of about $4 billion in the 2010 financial year, Victoria’s Secret contributed the largest share. Pink, which mainly aims at female college students and the campus life in general, is a modified version of Victoria’s Secret. Among the products under the Pink line are; sleepwear, loungewear, bras and panties. Bath and Body Works brand focuses on home scent and private care products such as shower gels, lotions, spa products and candles. Contrary to Victoria’s Secret and Pink labels that mainly concentrate on the mass market, La Senza aims at exclusive higher quality products such as lingerie, sleepwear, loungewear, body care and accessories. Despite operating franchise in some 48 other countries, La Senza brand’s main operation is based in Canada. Among the products under Henri Bendel’s label are; handbags, totes, wallets, key fobs, jewelry, fragrance collection etc.

From the look of kind of products offered under the five lines of the Limited Brands, there is no room left for doubt that this company is, from all perspectives, targeting women. Given intimate wear and personal care industries are so profitable not forgetting that the largest portion of sales from this area comes from ladies, this woman focused products tactic has so handsomely worked in favor of this company. Limited Brands earns a reputation in being the sole player in the expansion of women’s mass market intimate wear industry through appropriate marketing and promotional strategies for Victoria’s Secret label. There is a room for this company to upgrade men mass market intimate wear industry by putting into use the lessons learnt from Victoria’s Secret to enrich Victor’s Solution label.

Strengths

The same company that so far has become successful in developing or rather improving women mass market intimate wear industry that is more competitive than inner wear sector is by now introducing a brand called Victor’s Solution. Due to the fact that Victor’s Solution enjoys Limited Brand’s huge resources, wide experiences and an established retail network, it is better placed than other potential entrants are. Also worth noting is; the goodwill established by the Limited Brands especially that of Victoria’s Secret to a reasonably large extent plays in the favor of Victor’s Solution as its links with the above mentioned brands grants it a soft landing on customers. In addition, this brand will be sold through Victoria’s Secret outlets which are already established so far as distribution is concerned.

Weaknesses

The features of men intimate wear industry is an area of weakness in this whole enterprise. Contrary to women who regard intimate wear as a fashion and style product, majority of men buy intimate wear for nothing else other than functional purpose and in that sense has no special interest in fashion and style as is common with ladies. Therefore, the question as to whether Victor’s Solution is going to perform as excellent as Victoria’s Secret is best left for time to tell. Lack of experience in the men inner wear industry by Limited Brands also plays against Victor’s Solution. There are chances of mass market men inner wear labels like Fruit of the Loom which is America’s biggest seller of men’s brief (Funding Universe) and Hanes reacting by providing superior products or maybe introducing new ones to safeguard their market share. Contrary to Limited Brands, companies such as Fruit of the Loom and Hanes both have experience and information relating to men inner wears industry for a reasonably good period of time.

Opportunities

Likewise to Limited Brands up scaled women mass market intimate wear industry, Victor’s Solution has a room for improving men’s mass market inner wear industry. Unlike its competitors; Fruit of the Loom and Hanes which aim at the functions of the products, Limited Brands stand a chance to introduce Victor’s Solution products as fashion and style centered goods. In addition, Limited Brands also own more resources than either of its competitors; for example, Victoria’s Secret a lone yields much more profit than Fruit of the Loom does and is by a narrow margin lower than that of Hanes whose financial year of 2010 had $4.58. This implies that Limited Brands is well off to meet the financial commitments that come with the marketing and promotion of Victor’s Solution and another advantage is; there already exist distribution channels which will best help in the flow of its products. Whereas Hanes and Fruit of the Loom rely on Wal-Mart and Target to distribute their products, Limited Brands on the other side will use the already existing and well established Victoria’s Secret retail outlets to perform this task. Both Hanes and Fruit of the Loom will have no choice but to create for themselves a new outlook which to some extent might end up confusing customers while for Limited Brands, their image of class and fashion is well established in the eyes of the consumers that they need no worry about appearance.

Threats

In Victor’s Solution’s list of threat is likely to be consumer habits. There is a possibility of our male customers not willing to as high prices as female customers as well as buying smaller quantity of products on a visit as is contrary to females. Also the fact that there exists some high scale lines like Calvin Klein, Emporio Armani and Joey Boxer and which enjoys an overwhelming publicity haunts Victor’s Solution’s chances. These already mentioned brands stand to present a real competition; however, Victor’s Solution might be able to overcome some of the challenges due to its collaboration with Victoria’s Secret.

Summary and Conclusions

The most difficult ask for Victor’s Solution will be to successfully develop men mass market inner wear like was done by Victoria’s Secret. Among things that Victor’s Solution must do in order that it succeeds are; thoroughly study and understand the market of interest, introducing a well thought product line and then supporting the label through innovative marketing and brand-building activities. This line must also invest in design and research in order that it provides distinct products and be able to have a pricing potential so as to outplay their competitors.

Not only will this idea capitalize on Limited Brands’ key potential in the creation of a brand but will as well bring about proper marketing and chain management as was witnessed with Victoria’s Secret. There already exist an identity in the mass market for brands such as Hanes and Fruit of the Loom as well as high class labels like Calvin Klein and Emporio Armani. There is a possibility for Victor’s Solution to counter the challenges by applying mass market distinction tactic which will enable it to flow far as well as still possessing a glamorous image.

There is a bright future ahead of Victor’s Solution following the fact that it is partaking in mass market differentiation strategy as is opposed to its competitors thus a proper market plan will no doubt help it create and establish an image of fashion and style. This brand will in addition have touch with the huge resources of Limited Brands and can therefore survive any wave that arises in the early stages of operation as it attempts to have quality knowledge of the market segments. On top of enjoying Victoria’s Secret’s distribution channels, there also exists a possibility of Victoria’s Secret customers buying its products.

In the process of research and making of this document, it was observed that planning is plays a fundamental role for any new company not only to enable it to know itself and the competing environment but to as well be able to spot the impediments that can enhance its success power. A company has a duty to well understand its customers and their needs or rather their requirements which it should satisfy. Also worth noting is that the company should not only take time to find out what its strengths and opportunities are but should as well strive to know its weaknesses and threats so as to enable it to find a solution for them.