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Ralph Lauren to close 50 stores, cut jobs in bid for profitability

Ralph Lauren needs to start making money again, and CEO Stefan Larsson’s plan to do it includes restructuring in a move aimed at saving $220 million over the next year.

It will mean closing at least 50 stores and cutting 8% of the full-time workforce, or about 1,000 employees, in order to create a leaner business that operates with fewer layers of management. Larsson also wants to bring the brand more in line with today’s trends and better cater to what shoppers want, taking a page out of his time at fast-fashion brands Old Navy and H&M. He will reduce inventory and focus more on the company’s core brands.

Larsson, who took over from founder Ralph Lauren in November, presented the details of the plan at an investor and analyst meeting Tuesday.

“The business has struggled over the last three years,” he said. “We have to do a better job to give the consumer something really exciting.”

The changes mark a significant shift for the all-American fashion house built on denim staples and branded polo shirts. But the company, where Lauren himself was at the helm until last year, has struggled under falling sales and profits, failing to keep up with rapidly changing retail trends and new style preferences. In the year ended April 2, Ralph Lauren’s profit dropped by more than 22%, excluding restructuring charges. The stock has fallen nearly 48% from its December 2014 high of $182.74.

The new plan is expected to save between $180 million and $220 million in fiscal year 2017. The company expects the restructuring to cost $400 million plus a $150 million inventory charge from reducing supply. With the changes, Ralph Lauren says it will be profitable by fiscal year 2019.

Ralph Lauren’s Icon Collection

Face it: Steven Meisel is one of the best fashion photographers working today. His stunning imagery always leaves us captivated and this

season alone he has produced flawless campaigns for the likes of Max Mara, Alberta Feretti and even Zara. Our forums called Meisel’s

campaign for Ralph Lauren’s Icon Collection “pure perfection” last year and for 2017, the legendary lensman reprises his role shooting

the American label’s newest Icons campaign. So far, models Alicia Burke and Vittoria Ceretti make a return, each posing for elegant

black and white images.

Of course, the campaign was an instant hit amongst forum members. “Stunning once again. Alicia looks gorgeous. Can’t wait to see the

rest,” heralded an elated anlabe32 the moment Alicia’s image dropped.

“Alicia Burke is a queen, I wish her a solid and long career! She is always a win with Meisel,” raved badgalcrush.

“I love Alicia, it’s great she has Meisel’s support, and this is a beautiful shot. Hope the rest are as good!” exclaimed forum member

333101.

In agreement over how wonderful the campaign was shaping up to be was Nepenthes, enthusing: “Stunning, Alicia really is incredible!”

Arlekinderrabal expressed the same sentiments. “Alicia is a perfect fit. Such good casting,” he commented.

“Woah! Stunning as usual!” applauded a more than satisfied ChimyeeRong.

“Beautiful shots so far. I hope it’s not the exact same cast as last year. But if it is, I wouldn’t be mad. It was great anyway,”

approved guimon.

Benn98 said, “Love Vittoria’s shot, so far it looks better than the last campaign.”