Victoria's Secret was started in San Francisco, California, in 1977 by Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus Roy Raymond, who felt embarrassed trying to purchase lingerie for his wife in a public and awkward department store environment. He opened the first store at Stanford Shopping Center, and quickly followed it with a mail order catalog and three other stores. The stores were meant to create a comfortable environment for men, with wood-paneled walls, Victorian details and helpful sales staff. Instead of racks of bras and panties in every size, there were single styles, paired together and mounted on the wall in frames. Men could browse for sexy styles for their girlfriends so they could get "down and dirty" and then sales staff would help estimate the appropriate size, pulling from inventory in the back. In 1982, after 5 years of operations, Roy Raymond sold the company to The Limited.
The Limited kept the personalized image of Victoria's Secret intact. Victoria's Secret was rapidly expanded into the U.S. malls throughout the 1980s. The company was able to vend a widened range of products such as shoes, evening wear, and perfumes among others with its mail catalog issued eight times annually.
By the early 1990s, Victoria's Secret had become the largest American lingerie retailer topping one billion dollars.
On 10 July 2007, Limited Brands sold 75% of Limited clothing chain to firm Sun Capital Partners to focus and boost sales growth on Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and Bath & Body Works units which provided 72% of revenue in 2006 and almost all the firm's profit. There are 1,000 Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and 100 independent Victoria's Secret Beauty Stores in the US, mostly in shopping centers. It sells brassieres, panties, hosiery, cosmetics, sleepwear, and much more. Victoria's Secret mails more than 400 million of its catalogues per year. Under pressure from environmentalist groups, Victoria's Secret's parent firm...