Why Ralph Lauren Is Closing Its Fifth Avenue Polo Flagship Store

Another day, another big retail closing announcement.

Ralph Lauren is the latest big name brand to shutter a major store: its Polo flagship location on Fifth Avenue, steps away from Trump Tower. The company also plans to reduce its corporate workforce as part of cost-cutting moves to strengthen the business. In addition, it will move its digital platform to a less expensive system.

Together, the moves are expected to result in annual savings of $140 million. But the company will incur initial costs of $370 million for severance charges, lease termination fees and inventory costs as it undergoes the revamp.

Stefan Larsson Ralph Lauren
Stefan Larsson, who left the company last year, and Ralph Lauren.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

Once the store closes, the Polo product will be stocked into the Ralph Lauren men’s and women’s Madison Avenue locations and other downtown boutiques.

Still, the company isn’t giving up on brick-and-mortar. It will develop the Ralph’s Coffee concept and continue to operate seven stores in New York.

Tuesday’s move was part of the “Way Forward Plan,” put into place by the company’s former CEO Stefan Larsson.

Lauren is just one major brand grappling with the seismic changes at retail, which are impacting retailers in every corner of the industry. In the discount space, Payless ShoeSource said today it’s closing 400 stores and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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