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Ralph Lauren to Close Flagship Fifth Avenue Store, Cut Jobs

The company will close its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, revamp its e-commerce operations and cut jobs in a $370 million shake-up.
The Polo Ralph Lauren store on 5th Avenue | Source: Flickr/Shinya Suzuki
By
  • Bloomberg

NEW YORK, United StatesRalph Lauren Corp., reeling from tumbling sales and profit, will close its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, revamp its e-commerce operations and cut jobs in a $370 million shake-up.

As part of the changes, Ralph Lauren will shift its digital operations to a platform run by Salesforce.com Inc.’s Commerce Cloud, the company said on Tuesday. It’s also streamlining its organisation and shuttering other offices and stores.

The move follows the abrupt announcement in February that chief executive officer Stefan Larsson was leaving the fashion house. He had been tasked with leading the company's turnaround, but clashed with eponymous founder over creative differences. Chief financial officer Jane Nielsen, a former Coach Inc. executive, is taking the reins as acting CEO while Ralph Lauren searches for a new leader.

“We continue to review our store footprint in each market to ensure we have the right distribution and customer experience in place,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

The restructuring plan will bring cash expenses of $185 million and a similar amount of non-cash charges, the company said. The changes are expected to save $140 million a year by their completion, which is slated for the end of the next fiscal year in March. Ralph Lauren declined to say how many jobs were affected.

The Polo store, which is closing April 15, has been one of Ralph Lauren’s highest-profile locations in its hometown of New York. The company still has seven other stores — along with its Polo Bar restaurant — in the city.

The shares have fallen 9.9 percent this year through Monday’s close. They were down an additional 1.2 percent to $80.42 as of 9:31 am on Tuesday.

By Nick Turner and Stephanie Wong; editors: Nick Turner and Lisa Wolfson.

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