Ralph Lauren Corporation and the Factory Outlet Scene
Add another iconic-yet-stagnating manufacturer and retailer to the list of apparel companies waking up to the need to “do something.” Ralph Lauren Corporation rolled out its big red reset button this month in a bid to break out of the sales-and-profits doldrums. A leaner more agile Ralph Lauren is the goal, in many a sense:
A tighter focus on core brands Ralph Lauren, Polo and Lauren Ralph Lauren (and not so much on the likes of Chaps, Denim & Supply, Club Monaco et al.).
More focused and less extensive product offerings within each line.
Shorter supply chains and time to market.
A smaller work force with planned cuts in the 8% range in addition to the 5% reduction in fiscal 2015.
A smaller retail footprint with planned closings of 50 as-yet-unspecified stores, although a number of the 77 Club Monaco are likely on the list as RL sidelines non-core brands.
One of the first thoughts that came to our minds when reviewing the current state of affairs was “outlets.” Perhaps an examination of the positioning of the core brands as they relate to factory outlets is in order for the company. As the largest operator of branded apparel outlet locations in North America, Ralph Lauren, ostensibly a designer-apparel manufacturer, has made its brands synonymous with “outlet” in the minds of many consumers.
With that in mind, let’s dig into the database for a look at the manufacturers and brands RL is sharing retail space with in factory outlet malls across the country.