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Bath & Body Works Sees Future in Skin Care After L Brands Split

The chain could also broaden its offerings of organic and natural products.
Bath and Body Works. Shutterstock.
Bath and Body Works. Shutterstock.

Bath & Body Works is exploring an expansion in skin and hair products as it plots an independent future after the pending breakup with Victoria’s Secret.

The chain could also broaden its offerings of organic and natural products, Andrew Meslow, chief executive officer of parent company L Brands Inc., said Monday at an investor presentation. Bath & Body Works could make its own products or partner with a third party, executives said at the event.

The comments chart a potential new path for Bath & Body Works as it tries to maintain the momentum of the past year, when sales of its soaps and hand sanitizers boomed during the pandemic. The skin-care category got a broad boost during the pandemic, with cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Cos. reporting accelerating growth in the segment even while makeup sales fell. A move in that direction would put Bath & Body Works in competition with other makeup retailers, such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty Inc.

Bath & Body Works will become an independent company next month when L Brands completes a separation of the bath-products chain and Victoria’s Secret. The move, coming after a failed effort to sell the lingerie retailer, is intended to allow the separate companies to tailor their investments and growth strategies in a changing retail landscape.

L Brands’ shares fell 3.5 percent at 10:45 a.m. in New York amid a broader market slump.

By Jordyn Holman and Richard Clough

Further Reading: Bath & Body Works’ Enduring Formula for Success

The success of Bath & Body Works often gets overlooked amidst all the dramatic headlines about Victoria’s Secret and parent company, L Brands. But the mall chain is thriving in an environment in which it has little competition.

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