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Ralph Lauren revenue dives as pandemic erases demand

Ralph Lauren Corp said on Tuesday its quarterly revenue plunged by nearly US$1 billion, as it struggled with coronavirus-led store closures and a slowdown in demand for luxury goods across the world.

The big drop in revenue and a larger-than-expected loss pushed shares of the New York-based fashion house down nearly 7 per cent in trading before the bell.

The company’s revenue slumped 77 per cent in North America, with analysts saying demand for high-end handbags, apparel and accessories is not expected to rebound quickly as the global economy enters a recession.

Ralph Lauren is more exposed to the health crisis than other apparel companies as its jackets, coats and dresses are designed for social or formal occasions, said Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail.

“While some customers have been prepared to pay premium dollars for luxury apparel, many middle-income shoppers have de-prioritised their spending on clothing in favour of spending on the home – an area where Ralph Lauren does play, but not nearly as strongly as it should,” Saunders said.

Ralph Lauren’s net revenue fell 66 per cent to $487.5 million, missing analysts’ average estimate of $615 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales at European luxury goods giants LVMH , Kering and Hermes fell between 38 per cent and 44 per cent – much slower than those posted by the company.

Ralph Lauren also reported a mere 3-per-cent rise in North American online sales, a far cry from triple-digit sales increases recorded by a number of US retailers.

The company reported a net loss of $127.7 million in the quarter to June 27, compared with a profit of $117.1 million, or $1.47 per share, a year earlier.

  • Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva.

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