By  on February 3, 2005

NEW YORK — Not content with resting on its laurels with another solid quarter, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. is eyeing a bolder presence in the luxury accessories market, developing a game plan for Asian business and becoming a leader in the collegiate space through the expansion of its Rugby concept.

For the third quarter ended Jan. 1, income more than doubled to $74.8 million, or 72 cents a diluted share, from $35.4 million, or 35 cents, in the year-ago period, while total revenues rose 37.6 percent to $888 million from $645.4 million. Included in revenues was a 95 percent jump in wholesale sales to $427.4 million from $219.1 million, which came mostly from Lauren and the addition of the children’s wear business. Results also were bolstered by a 12.1 percent gain in retail sales to $402.6 million from $359 million. However, total sales were impacted by a 13.8 percent decline in licensing revenue to $57.9 million from $67.2 million.

In the retail segment of the business, same-store sales rose 6.1 percent, on top of a consolidated 8.8 comps increase from a year ago. By segment, comps rose 3.4 percent at Ralph Lauren, were up 6.7 percent at Club Monaco and jumped 7.2 percent at the company’s outlet stores. The company operated 15 more stores in the current period versus a year ago.

“I am proud of our company and how it continues to perform. We have a unique business model that stretches from wholesale to retail across many families of businesses and many geographies,” said Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

The ceo added, “Our results show we continually reignite our brands with new products and new markets. We expect to produce another record year next year and we are positioned for continuous growth beyond that.”

Roger Farah, president and chief operating officer, told Wall Street analysts during a conference call, “While we continue to focus on short-term results, we are willing to invest in the long-term health and growth of our business.”

He said for 2006, initiatives include growth in retail, “where we’ll continue to expand new stores in the U.S. for Ralph Lauren and Rugby.” Farah said the company is going to continue to “improve the flow of fresh product with investments in our Greensboro distribution center” as well as refine the cost structure in Europe for its retail businesses.

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