Ralph Lauren RTW Fall 2019

Ralph Lauren Corp. pushed past analyst expectations in the fourth quarter and is charging forth with its strategic plan, which put the company back on a growth track a year earlier than promised.

While net profits and sales slipped in the quarter, president and chief executive officer Patrice Louvet told WWD that the company’s strategic plan, laid out in June, is working and that now it’s a matter of making smaller adjustments and executing.

“This is the end of the year and, at this point, we feel good about the start we have,” the ceo said. “When we look ahead, it’s really run the play.”

Louvet said the company still needs to do more to bring in younger shoppers, drive traffic to its stores and fine tune its approach to its seasonal fashion assortments across all its labels.

“What we’re learning on our fashion concepts is that there’s some level of volatility because it’s fashion and sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t,” he said. “We probably have in some instances invested too much in the fashion concept part of our business. For us, it’s really a question of balance and how do we develop it.”

But Louvet underscored that the brand still believes in having a “luxury halo” and that it was more a matter of making sure that the approach is right.

The company’s net income for the fourth quarter slid to $31.6 million, or 39 cents a share, from $41.3 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings of $1.07 a share came in well ahead of the 89 cents Wall Street projected. That helped push the stock up 2.3 percent to $121.05 in pre-market trading.

Revenues for the quarter ended March 30 slipped modestly to $1.51 billion from $1.53 billion. That growth came from abroad as revenue in North America fell 7 percent to $708 million. Europe posted a 4 percent gain to $435 million and Asia rose 6 percent to $272 million.

Despite the decline, revenues for the full year increased to $6.31 billion from $6.18 billion.

Ralph Lauren, executive chairman and chief creative officer, said: “This year we marked an incredible milestone for our business and our brands — 50 years of inspiration, passion and innovation. As we celebrate our rich history, we are even more inspired and motivated to continue to build the future for our company, and I am so proud of the work our teams are doing to deliver for consumers around the world every day.”

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