Bathing suits are back at Victoria's Secret

Key Points
  • Victoria's Secret is back in the swimwear business.
  • It's selling bathing suits again, starting Monday, but only online.
How Victoria's Secret revolutionized lingerie — then fell behind

Victoria's Secret is back in the swimwear business — sort of.

The lingerie retailer said Monday that its swim collection for 2019 is now available, but only online. "Due to overwhelming demand," Victoria's Secret said it just plans to sell pieces — a "limited assortment" — on its website, not in stores, for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. It said it will offer a new line of sunglasses in select stores, in addition to online.

Victoria's Secret's move back into swim comes after the company pulled out of the category in 2016, costing it $500 million in annual sales. Shoppers who swore by its beach friendly products were outraged, with few other retailers offering quality swimwear to turn to.

Victoria's Secret has since then been caught up in other struggles, as its sexy image has fallen out of favor with today's shoppers, and online lingerie retailers like Adore Me, Lively and ThirdLove are taking market share at Victoria's Secret's expense.

The company had teased it would be getting back into the swim category during a call with analysts last November.

In its latest earnings report, Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands said it planned to shut 53 of the lingerie retailer's stores this year, compared with an average of 15 closures in prior years. It's working on trimming its real estate, while making investments to revamp some products for its PINK brand to be more appealing to younger women and teens.

Analysts who cover the company are watching to see how much momentum the swim relaunch brings. L Brands' shares have fallen more than 30 percent over the past 12 months. The stock was up a little more than 1 percent Monday afternoon.

On its website, Victoria's Secret is now selling a sweetheart neckline one-piece suit for $152, an active highneck halter top for $88 and a bikini bottom for $28.