Ralph Lauren Results Top Estimates as Shoppers Snap up Polos, Pricey Sweaters

People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)
People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)
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Ralph Lauren Results Top Estimates as Shoppers Snap up Polos, Pricey Sweaters

People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)
People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)

Ralph Lauren Corp beat profit estimates and reported a surprise rise in fourth-quarter revenue on Thursday as its new seasonal collections resonated with affluent shoppers at a time when luxury spending has cooled in the United States.

The company's shares rose nearly 8% after it also posted a more than 30% jump in sales in China, with demand in the key luxury market rebounding sharply.

While overall US luxury spending has taken a hit, Ralph Lauren's moves to double down on its outdoor wear and women's clothing collections have drawn more shoppers.

Strong demand for its cable-knit sweaters and Polos have also helped the company keep promotions minimal, with quarterly revenue in North America, its biggest market, decreasing a smaller-than-expected 3%.

Ralph Lauren's core higher-income customer base has been resilient, even in North America, Chief Executive Patrice Louvet said.

"(The) more value-oriented consumers are a smaller part of our customer base and getting smaller and smaller, as we bring in more higher-value consumers."

Meanwhile, luxury companies ranging from LVMH and Gucci-owner Kering to Coach handbag maker Tapestry have flagged softer demand in the United States.

"Ralph Lauren has been running a really good business on all fronts, so even in a volatile sort of time, they've been able to have a decent performance," said Jessica Ramirez, senior analyst at Jane Hali and Associates.

The company's Asia segment revenue rose 13% to $390 million.

Fourth-quarter net revenue increased 1% to $1.54 billion, compared with analysts' estimates of a drop to $1.47 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Excluding items, Ralph Lauren earned 90 cents per share, beating estimates of 61 cents.

The company forecast fiscal 2024 revenue to increase in the low-single digit range, on a constant currency basis. Analysts are expecting a 5.6% rise to $6.73 billion.



Milan Fashion Week: Prada Projects Youthful Optimism, Not Escapism, in a Turbulent World

Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
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Milan Fashion Week: Prada Projects Youthful Optimism, Not Escapism, in a Turbulent World

Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)
Models present creations by Prada during the Milan Fashion Week Men's Spring Summer 2025, in Milan, Italy, 16 June 2024. (EPA)

Without making overt statements, Milan designers expressed their concern over the global turbulence through their collections.

Miuccia Prada said she wanted to project optimism. “Because even if the times are bad, I feel that it was the right thing to do,’’ she said backstage at the Prada show. She is not promoting escapism. “Eventually, I propose something positive, but escapism, I don’t like.”

Not using the platform to comment would be “irresponsible,’’ said the designers behind the Simon Cracker brand, born 14 years ago to contrast the prevailing fashion system with upcycled collections.

They dedicated their collection, titled “A Matter of Principle,” to “the children victims of matters of principle.”

Some highlights from the third day Sunday of mostly menswear previews for Spring-Summer 2025:

Prada projects optimism The Prada menswear collection plays with the idea of imperfection. But nothing is as it seems.

Tops, jackets and hoodies seem shrunken, more than cropped. Overcoats have three-quarter sleeves. It’s a wardrobe somehow inherited, already lived-in. Creases are part of the construction, as technical as a pleat. Pointed shirt collars are held aloft by wires. Trousers feature faux belts, low and below the waistline. Belts also are featured as decoration on bags, as if to close them.

Miuccia Prada, co-creative director of the brand along with Raf Simons, said playing with the idea of the real vs. the fake “is very contemporary,” calling such details “an invitation to take a closer look at the clothes, up close.”

The neutral color palette is punctuated by warm feminine shades: a bright green cardigan, a floral blouse, a turquoise coat, which the designers said suggest a mother’s or grandmother’s wardrobe.

“We wanted (the collection) to be already alive, as if clothes you already lived with,” Simons said backstage.

Prada models emerged from a simple white hut, descending into the showroom down a runway flanked by a white picket fence. The designers describe the setting both as essential and utopian — and youthful.

“Here youth is the hope, it’s the future,” Prada said. “In this moment, we thought it was relevant also to encourage youth to think about our world.”

A world in knots at Simon Cracker So many knots to undo in the world, so many knots holding together the latest Simon Cracker collection of mostly upcycled apparel.

For Spring-Summer 2025, designers Filippo Biraghi and Simone Botte assembled their collection of repurposed apparel castoffs using laces and drawstrings to create skirts from tennis shirt panels, dresses from knitwear and restructure jackets. Each piece is unique.

The “nervous” color palette of black, violet, sea blue and acid green was achieved through dying, each material reacting differently to the process.

“It is a way of recounting what is happening in the world, without being too explicit,” Biraghi said backstage. “It would be irresponsible to not be political in this moment.”

The 14-year-brand’s name is meant to denote that something is broken — cracked — in the fashion system. They embrace imperfection as part of the beauty of their creations, made from forgotten or discarded garments and deadstock fabrics, this time including textiles from Italian sportswear brand Australian.

Australian, which is gaining traction with the club crowd, also created a capsule collection of black neon and technical garments for Simon Cracker, its first production line. Doc Martens provided the footwear, which the designers personalized with pins, badges and costume jewelry.