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Ralph Lauren Hong Kong closes flagship

Following other international fashion labels, Ralph Lauren Hong Kong has closed its flagship store.

Four years ago, its then CEO Ralph Lauren said the company was transforming its presence in China, “a region we believe will become an important driver of growth for us over the long term”.

He was announcing plans to open 60 stores in greater China by 2015. A year after the announcement, the label launched its first men’s flagship store in Asia, in the Landmark Prince’s in Hong Kong’s Central district, and in October 2014 opened a “mansion” store at the Lee Gardens complex, offering accessories, watches and jewellery as well as men’s and women’s fashions.

Now its 20,000 sqft (1858 sqm) store in Causeway Bay has been closed overnight, with a representative of the brand saying the closure was “part of our strategic and financial plan”.

“We are redeploying assets to focus on new concept stores and transition away from unprofitable formats and locations,” the spokeswoman says.

Ralph Lauren will combine its men’s and women’s flagships in the newly renovated Prince’s Building location, she says.

The move is part of a new strategy from Stefan Larsson, who replaced Lauren as CEO a year ago (Lauren is still executive chairman and chief creative officer). Larsson previously worked for Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M for 15 years.

The restructuring will cut more than 50 stores and 1000 jobs worldwide, saving the company between US$180 million and US$220 million a year, reports The South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, American fast-fashion label Forever 21 has announced it will close its multi-storey Causeway Bay flagship store. British label Paul Smith has already closed its Times Square store, and Italian luxury clothing and accessories label Tonino Lamborghini has also closed more than 10 stores and in-store counters.

Abercrombie & Fitch is set to leave its prime location in the Pedder Building in Central, which will leave it without a stand-alone store in Hong Kong. This follows it closing about 50 stores in the US this year. But the US company plans to open a flagship store in Beijing.

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