Retail

Luxury Fashionista Ralph Lauren Cuts 25 Percent Of Its Stores

The last year has been a topsy turvy one for luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren.

As PYMNTS previously reported, Ralph Lauren fired its CEO in February, shuttered the doors on its 5th Avenue flagship store this past April and is now looking to give the boot to 25 percent of its brick-and-mortar stores. The brand is refocusing its efforts in the wake of declining sales, evident by its hiring of a new CEO and naming David Lauren as the company's new chief innovation officer.

Ralph Lauren's shares saw a 13 percent bump this week following these new hires and the announced reduction of its brick-and-mortar location presence. Although shares are moving in the right direction, the company's Q1 revenue just barely beat out revenue expectations. The result was $1.35 billion in reported Q1 revenue, just above the $1.34 billion estimates and, unfortunately, still a decline from last year's Q1 revenue of $1.55 billion.

While some in the industry are not certain of the Ralph Lauren brand's future, GlobalData Retail's managing director, Neil Saunders, shares what it will take for the luxury fashion brand to see progress moving forward.

"To succeed, Ralph Lauren needs to both win back old customers and secure new ones, especially new, younger consumers who do not feel connected with the brand," said Saunders. "It simply isn't credible for a high-end brand to simultaneously showcase itself in a glitzy store on Madison Avenue while at the same time hawking a random assortment of sweaters thrown in a ragtag way on a table in Macy's."

As Ralph Lauren shrinks its brick-and-mortar presence, it does so at a time when other retailers are also closing physical locations and looking for ways to reinvent customer experiences. The issue that remains for Ralph Lauren is whether it can weather the digital retail evolution, or if it's too late to save the brand.

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