Ralph Lauren to Resume Online Business Following Warehouse Shutdown

Ralph Lauren’s online business will soon be up-and-running after the company shut down its distribution centers in the United States and Europe due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On Friday, the American luxury brand informed customers that it had temporarily paused fulfillment operations and anticipated delays in deliveries ordered on RalphLauren.com and The Polo App. It announced today that it will reopen its North American and European distribution centers on April 1 following extensive deep cleanings at its facilities and the implementation of enhanced safety protocols for employees, including staggered work shifts and scheduled breaks.

“The health and safety of our teams, customers and communities come first, and our thoughts are with the many impacted by this global pandemic,” President and CEO Patrice Louvet said in a statement. “In this challenging global context, we will prioritize the areas where we can have the greatest impact.”

He added, “Although much uncertainty remains, we are confident in our ability to get through this period successfully.”

Moving forward, the company said it would continue to assess the openings of offices, stores and other fulfillment centers around the world on a “location-by-location basis,” adhering to the advice of local governments and global health organizations.

“As this dynamic situation develops, [Ralph Lauren] will continue to monitor and evaluate the impacts of the pandemic outbreak on its operations,” it added, “and it may take additional measures as and when it is deemed appropriate.”

Late last week, the brand’s philanthropic arm, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, announced a $10 million commitment to help in the fight against COVID-19, which has sickened 838,000 people worldwide and killed more than 41,200.

The funds will be distributed in the form of financial grants for workers with special medical needs as well as care for people with cancer who are particularly vulnerable amid the pandemic; contributions to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund; and a gift to the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund for COVID-19 relief to support the American fashion community. The company is also currently working with its manufacturing partners to produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns for donation.

At the end of its fiscal third quarter, Ralph Lauren reported $1.9 billion in cash as well as short- and long-term investments. It has also tapped $475 million from its revolving credit facility and halted share repurchases to help preserve its financial flexibility during the crisis. An update on the impact of the coronavirus on its business will be provided at its fourth-quarter earnings call expected in mid-May.

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