Ralph Lauren discontinues Denim & Supply
Stefan Larsson had made it clear that Ralph Lauren was going to focus on its core business. The US group's CEO, who has been in charge for a year, is implementing his 'Way Forward' restructuring plan.
In doing so, he has issued a series of statements. For example, he decided to stop working with the less profitable multi-brand stores: apparently, between 20% and 25% of the label's wholesale clients will not be served any longer. The future will tell how this policy will apply to markets such as, for example, France.
Another of Larsson's decisions will be easier to implement: he has decided to discontinue Denim & Supply, the brand targeting a younger clientele, blending denim culture with bohemian and military influences. The brand's closing down was announced discreetly at the end of September, and was confirmed once the group's latest quarterly results were published.
"We are pursuing the objective of improving our focus on and the resources available for our key brands, and we have recently announced the decision to discontinue the Denim & Supply brand. We will respond to the denim market's expectations more effectively through our Polo brand, bolstering it at the same time." Denim & Supply was created in 2011, its range featuring fine denim items combined with military-style jackets and suits, and including signature pieces with a bohemian vibe. In the last few seasons, the range displayed more of an urban feel. The brand gained recognition for its style, but struggled to attract its 15-30 year-old consumers' target, due to its high price positioning.
The brand was distributed by denim specialty stores and also available through retail corners in department stores. Despite enjoying an international presence, with some twenty Denim & Supply branded stores, the label accounted only for a very small part of the Ralph Lauren group's business. "If we look at the brand's share of the business, it is worth approximately 2% of global net sales (about €150 million last year), said Jane Hamilton Nielsen, the group's CFO, who joined Ralph Lauren last year. And looking at our brand portfolio, we think we have a great opportunity with Polo to recover denim's sales over time."
The group's top management intends to cluster as many segments as possible under its leading brands, like Polo. Now that the luxury segment's future has been questioned, the same is true for the future of brands such as Chaps and Club Monaco. The latter operates 59 stores via licensed partners, and 77 department store concessions. Will it be enough to ensure its survival?
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