Ralph Lauren sews up double-digit growth in e-commerce

February 5, 2015 01:59 PM

Investments in both mobile and e-commerce have been paying off handsomely for luxury brand Ralph Lauren Corp.  

The multichannel designer apparel manufacturer and retailer, No. 58 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported double digit year-over-year growth in e-commerce sales during the company’s fiscal third quarter, both in North America and worldwide. Sales grew 17% on the global e-commerce level during the quarter, company executives said on a call with analysts, according to a transcript of the call obtained from Seeking Alpha. They didn’t specify exactly how much North American e-commerce sales grew year-over-year. In addition to the online sales bump, Ralph Lauren also generated a 40% year-over-year increase in mobile traffic, though executives didn’t explain what drove the growth.

Jacki Nemerov, president and chief operating officer of Ralph Lauren, credited improvements to its e-commerce sites for the online growth.

“These include more impactful visuals, redesigned product detail pages, enhanced quick-shop capabilities and a more streamline checkout process,” she said. “We added preorder to capabilities for our women’s collection line, which is an important feature for the luxury customer who wants to shop the runway.” 

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Ralph Lauren operates nine e-commerce sites around the world including its flagship site, Its Facebook page boasts more than 8.3 million fans, while its Instagram feed has over 1.3 million followers.

The company says it plans to step up its online investments, including building out a global e-commerce platform.

“The investments we are making in e-commerce and omnichannel capabilities beautifully showcase the Ralph Lauren lifestyle, while offering the product focus and clear call to action that this customer expects,” Nemerov said.

“The retail business we believe we can grow faster both driven by the e-commerce business where we had high teens growth in the current quarter and we think that the e-commerce business is going to continue to grow at an accelerated rate, which is why we are investing behind the e-commerce business,” chief financial officer Chris Peterson added. “We certainly think the consumers going to continue to shop more and more on online and as that happens we think that’s going to continue to put pressure on brick and mortar.

Eventually, Nemerov said she expects to Ralph Lauren will do a billion dollars in annual sales online, though she didn’t predict when the brand would hit that goal.

Ralph Lauren does not break out web sales. But for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 ended Dec. 27, 2014, the company reported:

  • Net sales of $1.986 billion, up .8% from $1.970 billion during the same period last year.
  • Net revenue generated by the retail segment, which includes e-commerce, of $1.149 billion, up 1.7% from $1.130 billion during the same period last year.
  • Gross profit of $1.159 billion, down 1.1% from $1.172 billion during the same period last year.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2015, Ralph Lauren reported:

  • Net sales of $5.603 billion, up 2.7% from $5.456 billion during the same period last year.
  • Gross profit of $3.334 billion, up 2.3% from $3.260 billion during the same period last year.



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