More polo shirts could soon be coming to a store near you.
Ralph Lauren is accelerating a strategic growth plan, the fashion company revealed during its investor day on Monday. Retail Dive reported that as part of the company’s growth, it’s planning on opening 250 stories in the next three years.
In an effort to better control the retail experience, Ralph Lauren is doubling down on its direct-to-consumer business, which represents 63 percent of its revenue. Chief executive Patrice Louvet said the company has abandoned two-thirds of its department store doors in the United States and reduced off-price exposure by more than 50 percent.
While the company didn’t disclose where it was planning on opening its latest retail stores, it did identify 30 markets for expansion, including 14 in North America. Some of the cities cited as potential opportune markets by Bob Ranftl, CEO of North America, include San Francisco, Seattle and Denver.
“Sometimes we have conversations and I get the impression people believe Ralph Lauren is a wholesale company,” Louvet said. “That may have been true in the past. That is not true today.”
Fashion designer Ralph Lauren founded the eponymous company in 1967, which is headquartered in New York City. The company has roughly 500 locations, including a flagship store on Madison Avenue.
But the company has also relied on selling in department stores. Its Chaps brand, for instance, can be found at Ross, T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.
Ralph Lauren hasn’t always had success in the direct-to-consumer market. In 2017, the company shuttered a 28,000-square-foot store at 711 Fifth Avenue, while continuing to pay rent. It ultimately decided to sublease the storefront to Spanish fast-fashion chain Mango, sparking a dispute with the landlord, a joint venture of Shvo Group, Bilgili Group, Deutsche Finance and the German pension fund BVK.
The sublease ultimately went through, though, and Mango opened its 23,000-square-foot flagship store at the site in May.
— Holden Walter-Warner