L Brands plans to close more than 50 Victoria’s Secret stores this year as the lingerie chain continues to struggle.

Executives at the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer said in a conference call Thursday morning that they expect to close as many as 53 Victoria’s Secret stores this year, well above the 30 closed last year and the 15 stores closed previous years.

“Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business versus our history,” said Stuart Burgdoerfer, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

L Brands reported quarterly earnings of $1.94 per share, down from $2.33 for the same quarter a year ago and below Wall Street expectations of $2.07 per share.

Victoria’s Secret reported sales of $2.5 billion for the quarter, down from $2.7 billion the previous year. Full-year sales were $7.37 billion, down from $7.39 billion the previous year.

“We have not met our own expectations for performance,” Burgdoerfer said.

L Brands operates 1,143 Victoria’s Secret stores in North America.

While offering no specifics about which stores would close, L Brands will decide “based on overall performance,” Burgdoerfer said. “It’s detailed, rigorous, fact-based. I wouldn’t want you to think it’s done in waves.”

Consistent with the good news/bad news nature of past reports, L Brands will actually increase its investment in its Bath & Body Works chain while shrinking Victoria’s Secret.

“Victoria’s Secret square footage in North America is projected to decline by about 3 percent, and Bath & Body Works square footage in North America will increase by about 3 percent, yielding a total company square footage decrease of about 1 percent,” Burgdoerfer said.

Victoria’s Secret has lost buyers to fast-rising rivals including American Eagle Outfitters’ Aerie and its annual fashion show has been derided as out of touch with women during the #MeToo movement era. Other competitors are coming on fast, including Target, which is preparing to launch three brands of bras, underwear and pajamas in March. The lines, expected to draw more than $1 billion in sales, will be marketed toward women across different ethnicities, ages and shapes.

In an effort to turn the chain around, L Brands recently hired new leaders for Victoria’s Secret Lingerie and its Pink division — John Mehas and Amy Hauk, respectively.

The retailer also told analysts in November that it will re-enter the business by spring as part of a move to rejuvenate the struggling brand. Victoria’s Secret also said it has started selling boots and plans to sell sunglasses

But L Brands officials say the biggest issue facing Victoria’s Secret is the clothing, not the marketing.

“The most important thing in our view is the merchandise,” Burgdoerfer said. “That’s where John and Amy ... are spending the majority of their time.”

While L Brands is “taking a fresh hard look at everything, the dominant focus is understanding the customer and making significant improvement to assortment,” he said. “We don’t have an announcement about the (Victoria’s Secret) fashion show.”

Those remarks left some analysts worried. Burgdoerfer’s comments make “no mention of evolving the brand message,” analysts at UBS wrote in a note to investors.

“We think L Brands’ problem lies less in merchandise, but rather the inability to adapt presentation and marketing of its offerings to shifting ‘body positive’ tastes,” said analyst Camilla Yanushevsky of CFRA Research in a note to investors.

“Reaching bra consumers, of any age, with targeted messaging and style offerings that have an eye on comfort at all prices is what will differentiate the top players,” said Marshall Cohen, chief industry adviser at The NPD Group, in a statement.