By  on May 27, 2009

Ralph Lauren built much of his empire on images of the American West but he’s now looking east — to Southeast Asia — as his firm seeks new pockets of growth in the 21st century.

On Wednesday, as Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. reported lower sales and restructuring charges drove down fourth-quarter profits by 57 percent, the company laid out plans for accelerated growth in selected parts of Asia. Polo will assume direct control of its wholesale and retail distribution in Southeast Asia at the beginning of next year and is creating a Hong Kong-based hub to oversee operations in the region.

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