Ralph Lauren invests more in marketing and sees sales growth

Ralph Lauren has increased marketing investment by 19% in the first quarter of its current fiscal year compared to last year. This comes as it adds 25 new owned and partnered stores into its network in Asia, and sees 5% growth in comparable store sales in the region.

According to a press release, key marketing activities included “Family is Who You Love” and Pride campaigns, celebrating its brands’ multi-generational appeal and the diversity of modern families. Marketing spend also went into its spring golf partnerships, and the Earth Day launch of its “Earth Polo” shirt, made entirely of recycled plastic bottles and a water-less dyeing process. Additionally, Ralph Lauren said it had “elevated” its brand voice with its Limited Edition Polo Sport, Pride capsule, and Polo Golf x Justin Thomas Collection as it kicked off its Summer of Sports programme.

“Our Company continues to evolve with the world around us while staying true to our values and creating inspiring style that endures. And more than 50 years in, I am very encouraged by the work we are doing to strengthen the foundations of our business, energise our teams and elevate our iconic brands,” said Ralph Lauren, the brand’s executive chairman and chief creative officer.

In Asia, revenue in the first quarter increased 4% to US$259 million driven by solid growth in retail.

Both brick and mortar and digital commerce operations saw growth. Overall, gross profit for the first quarter was US$921 million. Gross margin was 64.4%, driven by favourable product, geographic, and channel mix, partly offset by “increased promotional activity to keep inventories current and healthy”. Revenue increased by 3% to US$1.4 billion driven by positive results across regions.

On the digital front, total sales increased by 1%, with nearly 10% growth in international markets, partly offset by softer performance in North America. According to Ralph Lauren, its strong continued global expansion on digital pure play partners focuses on “winning over a new generation of consumers”.

Ralph Lauren president and CEO Patrice Louvet said: “Our performance was driven by strong continued momentum in our international markets and expense discipline across the organisation, while we continued to invest in elevating our brands.”