NEW YORK — Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. now has full ownership of Polo.com.
The apparel firm, in a cash transaction of $175 million, bought out the 50 percent stake in Ralph Lauren Media that was held by NBC-Lauren Media Holdings and ValueVision Media Inc.
“Over the past seven years, we have enjoyed a strong partnership with both NBC and ValueVision, which enabled us to expand the world of Ralph Lauren online. Together, we have built a powerful presence that combines creativity and commerce in a virtual flagship store,” said Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer of Polo Ralph Lauren. “We are excited about our complete ownership of Polo.com as we look to grow and elevate our e-commerce presence on a worldwide basis.”
Roger Farah, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement, “This is a very successful and growing business that has become an important part of our domestic retail shopping experience. This transaction allows us to fully integrate the operations of Polo.com into our existing organization and leverage our operational expertise to maximize the online sales performance and financial contribution to our company.”
Farah said the company believes there are “tremendous” growth possibilities for Polo.com internationally. He said more than 30 percent of the traffic on the dot-com site is from international domains from consumers who want to experience the world of Ralph Lauren.
Sarah Gallagher heads up Polo.com, according to a company spokeswoman. She also noted that the initial push for international expansion is Europe, and that the company is in the midst of doing its “due diligence” for that initiative.
The full-featured site includes a myriad of items for sale and incorporates a style guide for apparel and home that showcases the Ralph Lauren point of view. Included in the style guide are Polo.com Magazine and RLTV, which houses celebrity profiles, interviews and fashion runway shows.
New additions to the site will include a virtual stockroom and a virtual flagship.
The virtual stockroom will allow shoppers who can’t find an item in a specific size or color in a store to immediately head over to an interactive window that is linked to Polo.com, where the consumer can place an order without having to wait until they have access to a computer.
This story first appeared in the March 30, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The virtual flagship will showcase added luxury pieces for sale at the site. Intended to give consumers the experience of shopping at a flagship, the concept will feature more collection items for sale. It already sells selected items such as Purple Label for women but will be expanded to include items from Black Label for men.