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Ralph Lauren to Close 50 Stores and Cut Approximately 1,000 Jobs

Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

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Ralph Lauren announced today that it will shutter 50 stores and trim its workforce by approximately 1,000 jobs as part of new CEO Stefan Larsson's "Way Forward" Plan.

Larsson, who took over for Ralph Lauren himself as CEO in September, came to Ralph Lauren from H&M and Old Navy, where he turned Gap's sister store into a powerhouse by giving it a fast-fashion makeover with trendier clothes.

Looks like that might be in the cards for Ralph Lauren too, in response to net sales falling 3% in the last fiscal year. The brand wants to get clothing to stores in nine months, according to Reuters, instead of the 15 months it takes now — a plan that sounds pretty fast fashion-esque. The company also wants to "increase desirability" and connect "more closely to consumers" — which probably includes getting us to shop more, and more often.

Ralph Lauren also says the job cuts, which will make up 8% of the brand's full-time workforce, will strip out several layers of management for speedier decision-making.

Larsson's "Way Forward Plan" also involves cutting the amount of merchandise shipping to department stores, which is 45% of revenue according to CNBC, in hopes of cutting down on sales and selling more merchandise at full price. Now, that move sounds very Michael Kors, another brand said last week to be fleeing from department stores for the same reason.

As for the store shuttering, the closures will affect mostly high-end stores while focus turns to its major three brands: Polo, Ralph Lauren, and Lauren.

As for us, well, it might mean there's just more Ralph Lauren items to shop. Larsson told the Wall Street Journal that there's room to sell more handbags and accessories. But just because Ralph Lauren's business model is getting a fast fashion makeover, the clothing might not necessarily —  Larsson wants to focus on updated, timeless pieces like navy blazers and polo shirts.