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Wholesale Is Still Working for Ralph Lauren

The company released its fourth quarter and fiscal 2015 earnings Wednesday, beating Wall Street estimates.
A look from Ralph Lauren's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Ralph Lauren's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Ralph Lauren released its full-year and fourth quarter 2015 earnings Wednesday and while profits fell by 19 percent in the fourth quarter, overall performance topped expectations.

The company's net income tallied $124 million in the three months ending March 28, compared to $153 million in that same period the year prior. For the full year, net income came in at $702 million compared with $776 million the year prior. Net revenue for the fourth quarter rose 1 percent to $1.89 billion.

One area in which Ralph Lauren is doing better than many other global apparel brands is wholesale. As department stores and boutiques have struggled, brands like Vince, Prada and Burberry have shifted their businesses towards their own retail channels. Ralph Lauren, however, saw an 8 percent increase in wholesale sales on a constant currency basis in the fourth quarter, driven by double-digit growth in North America specifically.

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The company's retail sales aren't bad either: For both the fourth quarter and fiscal 2015, they were flat on a reported basis and up 6 percent on a constant currency basis, driven by double-digit growth in e-commerce.

While Ralph Lauren does not break out results for its individual brands (Ralph Lauren, Polo and Club Monaco among them), Chairman and CEO Ralph Lauren said in a statement that the company "opened several stores in key markets around the world, fueled the momentum of our luxury accessories business with the launch of the Drawstring Ricky bag, and continued to innovate with the introduction of Polo for women as well as the development of Polo Sport which will be launching this Fall." The company is also reorganizing its management structure in such a way that Lauren feels will "more fully leverage the power of our brands to drive future growth for the company."