'Sri Lanka has been a terrific partner with our Brand' - Victoria's Secret Chief
Victoria's Secret Chief Executive Officer Sharen Jester Turney wrapped up a two-day visit to Sri Lanka, visiting factories producing product for the Brand, holding a roundtable with women executives and discussing plans for expansion in the region with major supplier partners.
Ms. Turney expressed confidence in Sri Lanka during her visit, telling partners and suppliers that “Sri Lanka has been a terrific partner with our Brand and our two major suppliers in the country – MAS Holdings and Brandix; I can tell you that both of these companies are two of the biggest success stories in the world in terms of innovation and excellence – we are proud to be partners with both organizations.”
The relationship between Limited Brands and Sri Lanka dates back to 1983. Limited Brands and its global sourcing subsidiary, MAST Industries Inc., was the first fashion retail brand to produce product in Sri Lanka. Today, MAST Industries Inc. is the largest single customer of the Sri Lankan intimate apparel industry. Over the past 25 years, Limited Brands created dozens of joint ventures in the production of components and finished intimate apparel and garments that have become the backbone of the country's largest export sector.
Since 2006, while the overall dollar value of apparel exports to the United States has declined by double digits, Limited Brands and its affiliates has increased its volume significantly. In addition, support from Limited Brands has helped its Sri Lankan based suppliers to establish a foothold in neighbouring India, which makes the region more competitive with the China region.
During the 2004 tsunami, The Limited Brands team worked around the clock to ensure delivery of the very first private sector relief supplies from the United States to be delivered to the disaster zone in Sri Lanka – 100,000 bottles of oral rehydration solution (donated by Ross Laboratories) and shipped by air (on FEDEX aircraft) from Columbus, Ohio.
These supplies arrived within four days of the tragedy. Later, Limited Brands Foundation and MAST Cares donated six hundred thousand dollars to fund the construction and operation of two orphanages, operated by the charitable organization for children Sarvodaya for children whose parents perished in the tsunami.
During a roundtable discussion held Sunday afternoon in Colombo with women executives from supplier partners, Turney said “As a brand for women – I believe strongly that we should produce product in countries that respect the rights of women. Sri Lanka was the first country to have a woman serve as Prime Minister, and another serve as President of the country. More importantly, I believe that the opportunities for women in the organizations where we do business are as good or better than any country in the world. Sri Lanka may be a developing country, but I would like to think that when it comes to the status of women in our partner's organizations, Sri Lanka is advanced and that is important to me.”