Ralph Lauren is Closing Its Fifth Avenue Polo Store

Ralph Lauren is Closing Its Fifth Avenue Polo Store

Ralph 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.

The next phase of Ralph Lauren's reinvention won't involve its Fifth Avenue Polo store.

The restructuring plan is part of the company's Way Forward Plan that's been around since last June.

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The company said it expects these moves to be wrapped up by the end of March 2018 and to result in annual cost savings of about $140 million. And don't worry, the flagship Polo Bar restaurant on Fifth Avenue is here to stay too. Other Polo Stores around the country will remain open. They are on top of initiatives past year to cut costs by $180 million to $220 million.

The moves are the latest as the retail industry responds to the consumer shift to e-commerce that has led many to conclude that the USA brick-and-mortar retail footprint is too big. "The decision will optimize our store portfolio in the NY area and allow us to focus on opportunities to pilot new and innovative customer experiences".

Stefan Larsson had been in the role for less than two years when it was announced in February that he would be leaving, following differences between him and the company's founder and chairman Ralph Lauren.

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The retailer will be closing stores as part of its "continued commitment to optimizing its store footprint", though it declined to say how many jobs will be affected.

Ralph Lauren's Way Forward plan has also included a pullback from department stores in favor of digital sales, flagship store sales (despite a closure of underperforming stores, some 10% of the fleet) and a move to emphasize best-selling styles as well as provide more "see now, buy now" opportunities for customers.

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