Ralph Lauren quietly shuttered its 19,000-square-foot store at 265 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Conn.
The store, which closed Saturday, had been operating at that location since November 2009. The closure was part of the company’s previously disclosed plans to shut down stores, said a Ralph Lauren spokesman on Sunday. “There aren’t any more planned closures,” he said.
The imposing Greenwich Avenue store had a Beaux-Arts limestone facade, large arched windows, balconies and a residential-like interior. The store had several smaller rooms and a grand staircase and was filled with Persian rugs, along with custom and antique pieces sourced in London and Paris. The store featured women’s and men’s apparel and accessories as well as a home area.
At the time of the 2009 opening, Ralph Lauren, who has a home in nearby Bedford, N.Y., said, “The Greenwich community embodies a high level of sophistication, and the new store is a glamorous setting to showcase the breadth of our collections.”
The Ralph Lauren store opened around the same time as the Apple store on the avenue, and was surrounded by boutiques such as Tory Burch and Kate Spade. Saks Fifth Avenue recently expanded further north on Greenwich Avenue, adding two additional stores. One is a two-level store at 200 Greenwich Avenue called The Collective that features contemporary sportswear and another at 20 East Elm Street is focused on designer footwear.
This wasn’t Lauren’s first store on Greenwich Avenue. In the early Nineties, the company had a smaller, licensed store on the street. At one point, it also had a Rugby store on Greenwich Avenue. The company still operates a store in New Canaan, Conn.
“It was probably too large. It was a gorgeous property and mirrored his Madison Avenue store, ” said Patricia Valenti, executive managing director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a commercial real estate company that is not the listing agent for the property. “One of the big brands will potentially take it. It’s a plug and play for someone. All you have to do is open the door.”
She said the big names still want to be on Greenwich Avenue, pointing to such retailers as Hermès, Tory Burch, Longchamp, Saks Fifth Avenue and Restoration Hardware, which have stores on Greenwich Avenue. She believes that someone will probably come in and assume responsibility for the lease. “I think Ralph Lauren is being more strategic to which stores they open and which stores they close. They needed to shrink their inventory,” she said.
Last month, Lauren closed its 38,000-square-foot Polo store on Fifth Avenue, as part of the company’s Way Forward Plan, which was introduced last year by former chief executive officer Stefan Larsson. At the time, the company said the store closings, as well as a reduction in the company’s workforce, which is expected to wrap up by March 2018, would result in annual cost savings of about $140 million. The restructuring moves will cost the company about $370 million, mainly from employee severance charges, lease termination fees and inventory-related costs.
Lauren is just one major brand grappling with the seismic shifts occurring at retail, which are impacting retailers throughout the industry. Last June, Lauren said it would shutter about 50 stores, which were mostly full-price locations, in addition to reducing the company’s head count as part of its sweeping plan to lower costs and revive sales growth.