Luxury fashion retailer Ralph Lauren Corp said it is planning to cut jobs, close stores and reduce its real estate as part of a sweeping plan to lower costs and revive sales growth. The company said on Tuesday it will try to significantly reduce the time taken to manufacture its products and chop about three organizational layers to average about six layers to simplify its organizational structure.
Ralph Lauren did not say how many employees would lose their jobs or how many stores it would close, but the Wall Street Journal said the retailer would cut 1,000 full-time jobs and close 50 mainly high-end shops. The company had about 493 directly operated retail stores and employed about 26,000 people, roughly 15,000 of who work full time as of April 2.
The retailer's sales had fallen in every quarter in fiscal 2016, leading to a full-year sales decline of nearly 3 percent. Ralph Lauren said it expects net revenue for the current fiscal year to fall in the low-double digit percentage range, hurt in part by store closures, a pullback in inventory receipts and weak traffic.
Spearheading the revamp is Stefan Larsson, 41, a former executive from H&M and Old Navy who took over for Lauren as chief executive officer late last year. "We have all the cards," said Larsson. "But we need to play the cards in a different way." Ralph Lauren said it expects to record restructuring charges of up to $400 million and an inventory reduction-related charge of up to $150 million, mostly in the current fiscal year. The company expects the restructuring measures to result in about $180-$220 million of annualized expense savings.