Ralph Lauren's Polo store on Fifth Avenue is closing and will be cutting staff, according to a statement released on Tuesday. Product from the Fifth Avenue Polo store will be incorporated into its men's and women's Ralph Lauren flagship stores on Madison Avenue and downtown, while other Polo locations and the flagship Polo Bar Restaurant will continue operations.
"We continue to review our store footprint in each market to ensure we have the right distribution and customer experience in place," said current CFO Jane Nielsen in the release. "The decision will optimize our store portfolio in the New York area and allow us to focus on opportunities to pilot new and innovative customer experiences. The Polo brand remains strong, and we expect it to further strengthen as we continue to evolve the Polo product and marketing."
The Fifth Avenue store closure comes as part of the company's "Way Forward Plan," which will involve a number of restructuring and cost-cutting moves that will continue to take place through March 2018. Introduced by former CEO Stefan Larsson, the plan involves moving to a cheaper digital platform and reducing the corporate workforce. While the plan will cost Ralph Lauren Corp. $370 million to execute, it should save the company roughly $140 million annually once implemented.
Despite cutbacks in several areas, the brand will explore newer concepts like its in-store coffee shop, Ralph's Coffee. Ultimately, the shift seems to be at least in part about recognizing that engaging today's customer has a lot to do with having the right kind of online presence and creating unique in-store experiences, rather than merely having a brick-and-mortar location on the right street.
"We are looking carefully at the way consumers are shopping online and believe that shifting to the [new digital] platform will allow us to create a best-in-class solution more efficiently in all of our markets around the world," said current CFO Jane Nielsen.
No word yet about when the Fifth Avenue Polo store will officially close, but we'll continue to update as more information becomes available.