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Ralph Lauren to reduce headcount, close flagship, deploy new online platform

BY By Marianne Wilson

Ralph Lauren Corp. is shaking things up—and cutting costs.

The company, which has been struggling with weak sales, on Tuesday said it would reduce corporate staff, close its Polo flagship on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, and move its online platform to Salesforce’s CommerceCloud solution.

The restructuring moves, part of the fashion retailer’s previously announced “Way Forward Plan,” are expected to result in annual savings of $140 million. They are on top of initiatives last year to cut costs by $180 million to $220 million.

The Polo store on Fifth Avenue is one of the company’s most high-profile locations. Its closing, scheduled for April 15, will leave the retailer with seven stores in New York City. Ralph Lauren said it remains to committed to new retail concepts, including leveraging its Ralph’s Coffee format, and develoing new store formats.

“We continue to review our store footprint in each market to ensure we have the right distribution and customer experience in place,” said Jane Nielsen, CFO, Ralph Lauren Corp. “The decision will optimize our store portfolio in the New York area and allow us to focus on opportunities to pilot new and innovative customer experiences.”

The retailer said the move to the “more cost-effective and flexible” Salesforce e-commerce platform would deliver “a more consistent customer experience across the global digital ecosystem, with an advantaged total operating cost.”

“We are looking carefully at the way consumers are shopping online and believe that shifting to the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform will allow us to create a best-in-class solution more efficiently in all our markets around the world,” said Jane Nielsen, CFO, Ralph Lauren Corp.

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