Ralph Lauren Closing Stores, Cutting Jobs In Effort To Turn Around Sliding Sales

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In an effort to compete with the likes of fast-fashion retailers like H&M, Ralph Lauren Corp. says the company will be shrinking its real estate footprint, closing stores, and cutting jobs as it tries to make a comeback under its new CEO.

The company is expected to announce a plan today that will allow it to significantly reduce how much time it takes to manufacture its products, and will snip three organizational layers in order to simplify its company structure.

According to an interview with The Wall Street Journal, CEO Stefan Larsson, formerly of H&M and Gap’s Old Navy chain, will lay out a new corporate strategy at a meeting for analysts on Tuesday.

Larsson thinks the company has too many brands and retail stores, and is too dependent on department stores, where discounts prevail. Costs are too high, and inventory is inefficient, he told the Wall Street Journal.

Instead, the company will now refocus on its Ralph Lauren, Polo, and Lauren labels. That means shutting about 50 stores — roughly 10% of the company’s retail footprint — and will result in eliminating 1,000 jobs, or 8% of the full-time staff.

“Our performance has been disappointing over the last three years, and it doesn’t match the strength of the brand,” Larsson told the WSJ.

Larsson was given the top job last year after the company’s founder Ralph Lauren stepped back from the CEO spot, in the hopes that he could perform the magic he did at Old Navy and turn around the brand’s sliding sales. Ralph Lauren’s sales have fallen every quarter in fiscal 2016, Reuters notes, which makes for a full-year sales decline of nearly 3%.

Struggling Ralph Lauren Tries to Fashion a Comeback [The Wall Street Journal]

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