New York City Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. said late Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit fell 57%, hurt by job cuts and other restructuring costs as well as by increased discounts.
Retail sales fell 8% to $366 million as same-store sales dropped 16%, reflecting declines at Ralph Lauren, factory outlets and Club Monaco stores.
The company said it plans to accelerate investment in Southeast Asia, including assuming direct control of its wholesale and retail distribution there. The region, which spans from China and Hong Kong to Taiwan and Singapore, is becoming a larger part of the company's sales mix.
The company added that it will intensify new-product development while remaining focused on identifying other cost opportunities, as it anticipated the economic uncertainty to continue throughout the year.
To tap growth in Europe, Polo said it plans to open some high-profile flagship shops in France and update its brand presentations in leading department stores. It recently introduced its Lauren line in some European locations. Sales in Europe have grown more than fivefold in the past seven years, and constant-currency sales in the recent quarter jumped at least 10%.