Ralph Lauren shares dive as US shoppers gallop away
Ralph Lauren’s stock just fell off its horse again.
Shares of the preppy designer tumbled as much as 9 percent on Tuesday after the company revealed its sales in North America declined — despite stepped-up spending on advertising to court millennial shoppers.
The New York-based clothier blamed the stumble on fashion missteps in its spring collection in the US, even as sales grew in Europe and Asia.
Top executives have spent the past several seasons yanking the label from middlebrow department stores in a bid to restore its prestige. But on Tuesday, they also admitted they’ve neglected to focus on key products to generate revenue, including denim.
“At the end of the day, everyone looks really close at the US business,” Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel told The Post, “because that’s the part of the company that got too big and was purposefully shrunk.”
Sales in North America, which fell 7 percent, to $708 million, in the most recent quarter, are down by more than $1 billion from their peak of $4.5 billion in 2016 as the company pulls out of department stores and malls.
Ralph Lauren is “suggesting that North America is on the verge of stabilizing,” Siegel said, “but the results have not shown that yet.”
Total revenue dropped 1.5 percent, to $1.5 billion, in the quarter ended March 30.
That’s despite the fact that Ralph Lauren increased its marketing budget by 13 percent over the past year in an effort to attract younger customers.
The plan worked overseas, at least. Sales in Asia grew by 6 percent in the quarter — jumping by 30 percent in China — and grew by 4 percent in Europe.
While the company beat Wall Street’s estimates on the top and bottom, the decline in the US reversed two consecutive quarters of modest growth.
Sales had risen in the low-single digits, as the company made progress in its multi-year turnaround initiative, which includes selling fewer items at a discount and pulling back from department stores.
Chief Executive Patrice Louvet insisted in a statement that the company “is off to a good start” this year.
“We still have more work to do,” in North America, Louvet said on an earnings call.
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