Victoria’s Secret Invites Investors to Get Intimate

Riding a wave of positive publicity for its recent efforts in cyberspace, Victoria’s Secret parent company, Intimate Brands, Inc. (NYSE: IBI), is encouraging investors to put their money where their compliments are. Intimate Brands launched IBInvest Direct Wednesday, enabling investors to buy stock directly from the company.

The new service is available at Intimate Brands’ Web site where, to ensure visitors do not miss the new feature, the service is trumpeted in a pop-up frame that loads when the home page loads. Intimate Brands, which owns the Victoria’s Secret lingerie chain and Bath & Body Works, a chain of personal care product stores, may be banking on increased traffic from two recent headline-grabbing moves.

As reported, the company announced earlier this week it is putting Victoria’s Secret in America Online’s shopping center, and last week it won an AdWeek IQ Internet Marketing Award for the online fashion show Victoria’s Secret staged in February.

Stock is Sexy?

IBInvest Direct is joining a growing number of public companies offering their own stock online, including Walt Disney Co., Home Depot Inc., IBM and General Electric Co. The new IB investor service allows current shareholders and potential investors to bypass investment brokers to buy or add to their IB stock holdings. However, the direct investing service does not eliminate transaction fees. New investors must pay a one-time $10 setup fee to open an account, and all investors pay 3 cents per share commission to buy stock or 12 cents per share, plus a $15 transaction fee, to sell.

Investors can participate with a minimum investment of $500 or five installments of $100. Subsequent purchases can be made n $100 increments up to $250,000 per year. IB shares were trading at around $43 per share Wednesday morning, according to a five-minute-delayed running ticker at the bottom of the IBInvest Direct Web page. The stock’s 52-week high is slightly more than $52, and it is currently on a mild slide from the $49 range in early July.

In addition to buying and selling shares, investors can use the service to reinvest dividends or give gifts of stock to others. IBInvest Direct also offers an Individual Retirement Account comprised of IB stock. The plan is administered by First Chicago Trust/EquiServe and the plan summary and investment information is provided by NetStock Direct, which sets up direct stock services for companies and operates its own mutual funds.

Victoria’s Secret products are available through more than 850 lingerie and beauty stores, the Victoria’s Secret Catalogue and online at Bath & Body Works operates more than 1,100 stores.

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