This year is off to a good start for Ralph Lauren -- the fiscal, year that is. In an earnings call Wednesday morning, the company reported that it beat analysts' expectations for the first fiscal quarter, with sales of $1.7 billion, up 3 percent over the year prior. While profits dropped 10 percent relative to same time last year, execs noted that much of that has to do with expansion efforts. Because yep: This empire is not done growing just yet.
If you've ever had trouble differentiating between all of the different brands in the Ralph Lauren family — Ralph Lauren Collection, Polo, Black Label, Purple Label, Blue Label, etc. etc. — try not to panic, because the company is also launching Polo for women later this month. On August 28, Ralph Lauren will open its first Polo flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, and there are plans to open ones in East Hampton and New Jersey as well.
In keeping with other brands' investments in massive new stores in China, Ralph Lauren will open the doors to its first flagship in Hong Kong this fall, a 20,000-square-foot affair.
Speaking of global markets, Ralph Lauren's international business saw double digit revenue increases for the quarter, while sales overall rose 3 percent to $1.7 billion. E-commerce was similarly strong, although that segment of the company's business still varies in its maturity by region. According to the team, online sales for the U.S. are well developed, showing margins at or above the other divisions of its Stateside business.
"In the U.S., if a customer moves from brick and mortar to e-commerce, it's good for us from a profitability standpoint," a Ralph Lauren exec noted.
The company is still getting its e-commerce business to scale in Europe, and this is the first year that it will move from "investment mode" (getting operations up and running) to profitability, which should increase significantly as its grows. Online sales from Asia are just getting started.