Analysis of The Limited, Inc.
The Limited, Inc. was founded by Leslie H. Wexner on August 10, 1963, beginning with one store located in Columbus, Ohio. During its first year in operation, this store achieved sales of $157,000. His strategy was to provide a "limited" assortment of quality, fashionable sportswear at medium prices. The "limited" concept worked well and by the late 1970s, Wexner began a twofold strategy of market development and product development. New stores were opened and acquired an appeal to women of different ages, sizes, and budget limits.
The Limited, Inc. is comprised of a unique family of brands. Since the grand opening in 1963, the Company has grown to over 5,633 stores and 13 retail businesses. Businesses that fall under the umbrella of The Limited, Inc. are: Express, Lerner New York, Lane Bryant, Henri Bendel, Structure, Limited Too, and Galyan's Trading Company. The Limited, Inc. also owns 83% of Intimate Brands, Inc., IBI, which consists of Bath & Body Works, and Victoria's Secret.
Instead of offering a wide-variety of types of clothing, the stores offer a limited assortment in large quantities and a variety of colors. The company emphasizes rapid turnover of inventory so only the newest fashion is in the stores at all times.
As of 1997, the Limited, Inc. is a $9.2 billion specialty retailer selling women's, men's, and children's apparel; lingerie; personal care products, and sporting goods through its 5,633 stores and a catalogue. The past few years have seen significant change in the business. In May 1998, The Limited, Inc. completely divested itself of Abercrombie & Fitch stock. They gave shareholders the choice of exchanging their Limited shares for shares of A&F in a process known as a modified Dutch tender.
Today, The Limited, Inc. operates as four separate business groups: Women's Brands, Emerging Brands, Intimate Brands, and Support Businesses.
The Express underwent reconstruction in the early 1990s to have a more sophisticated European image instead of the neon-lit high-tech store of the mid-1980s. The company now describes its Express stores as providing "hot new fashion to young women in their early twenties." Merchandise includes "young and spirited fashions of good taste and quality." A private label brand created for the Express is called Compagnie Internationale. Express added petite sizes in 1995. The 753 Express stores in operation as of year-end 1997 were located mostly in shopping malls.
This is the flagship division of the organization. Originally, merchandise in these stores was targeted to women between the ages of 16 and 25, but that orientation changed to women in their thirties and forties several years ago. Limited Stores recently shifted its orientation to women who want "casual American fashion." These stores focus on the sale of medium-priced fashion clothing and accessories. The company began...