Ralph Lauren Corporation
|Predecessor||Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Revenue||US$6.653 billion (2017)|
|US$-95 million (2017)|
|US$-99 million (2017)|
|Total assets||US$5.652 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$3.300 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|~23,300 (April 2017)|
Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL) is an American corporation producing mid-range to luxury fashion products. They are known for the clothing, marketing and distribution of products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances. The Company's brands include Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Double RL, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren, Chaps, and Club Monaco. Ralph Lauren Corporation is an American, publicly traded holding company headquartered in New York City, and founded in 1967 by American fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
The Ralph Lauren Corporation started in 1967 with men's ties. At 28 years-old, Lauren worked for the tie manufacturer, Beau Brummell. He persuaded the company's president to let him start his own line. Drawing on his interests in sports, Lauren named his first full line of menswear ‘Polo’ in 1968. He worked out of a single "drawer" from a showroom in the Empire State Building and made deliveries to stores himself.
By 1969, the Manhattan department store Bloomingdale's sold Lauren's men line exclusively. It was the first time that Bloomingdale's had given a designer his own in-store shop. In 1971, Ralph Lauren Corporation launched a line of tailored shirts for women, which introduced the Polo player emblem, appearing on the shirt cuff. The first full women's collection was launched the following year.
1972 marked the opening of Ralph Lauren's store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, his first freestanding store. In 1977 Ralph Lauren Corporation introduced a signature cotton mesh Polo shirt in various colours. Featuring the polo player logo on the chest, the shirt became emblematic of the preppy look—one of Lauren's signature style.
In 1974, Ralph Lauren outfitted the male cast of The Great Gatsby in costumes chosen from his Polo line - a 1920s-style series of men's suits and sweaters, except for the pink suit which Lauren designed especially for Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby. In 1977, Diane Keaton and Woody Allen wore Lauren's clothes in the Oscar-winning film, Annie Hall.
In 1978, the first Ralph Lauren fragrances, produced by Warner-Lauren, Ltd were launched at Bloomingdale's. Lauren for women, and Polo the men's cologne. This was the first time that a designer introduced two fragrances – one for men and one for women – simultaneously.
The company entered the European market, and went international, in 1981 with the opening of the first freestanding store in New Bond Street in the West End of London, England. Lauren opened his first flagship in the Rhinelander mansion, on Madison Avenue and 72nd Street in New York City in 1986. On June 12, 1997, the company becomes a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
The 98-seat restaurant, RL, opened in March 1999 in a newly constructed building adjacent to the largest Ralph Lauren store at the corner of Chicago and Michigan Avenues. It was followed by the opening of two additional restaurants – Ralph's at 173 Boulevard Saint Germain Paris store in 2010 and The Polo Bar at Polo's store in New York in 2015.
The company launched its website and online shop in 2000 as polo.com by RL Media (a cooperation between Ralph Lauren and NBC). In 2007, Ralph Lauren Corporation acquired the NBC share of RL Media and the website was relaunched as ralphlauren.com. In September 2015, it was announced that Stefan Larsson would replace the company's founder, Ralph Lauren, as CEO in November. Lauren will stay on as executive chairman and chief creative officer.
In February 2017 it was announced that Larsson had agreed to leave his position as CEO effective May 1, 2017 due to differences with Lauren. On May 17, 2017, Ralph Lauren named Patrice Louvet President and Chief Executive Officer. Louvet most recently served as Group President, Global Beauty at Procter & Gamble (P&G). He took over on July 17, 2017.
- Ralph Lauren Women's Collection and Ralph Lauren Purple Label: Ralph Lauren Collection for women, launched in 1971, ranges from handmade evening gowns to sportswear. Launched in 1994, Ralph Lauren Purple Label for men offers suiting, custom tailored made-to-measure suits and sportswear, as well as benchmade footwear and made-to-order dress furnishings, accessories, and luggage.
- Ralph Lauren Watches and Fine Jewelry: In 2009 Ralph Lauren, together with luxury group Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, launched a collection of timepieces through the Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelry Co. In 2010, the Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelry Co. also introduced collections of jewelry.
- Polo Ralph Lauren: Men’s Polo, Ralph Lauren’s first complete line of sportswear and tailored clothing launched in 1967. In 2014, Women’s Polo was launched.
- Polo Sport: Polo Sport launched in 1992, a line of activewear for sports and fitness. In 2014, Ralph Lauren debuted the PoloTech Shirt, which featured smart fabric technology that supposedly "captures robust biometrics from the wearer".
- Double RL: Founded in 1993 and named after Ralph Lauren and his wife Ricky's “RRL” ranch in Colorado, RRL offers men a mix of selvage denim, vintage apparel, sportswear and accessories, with roots in workwear and military gear.
- Lauren Ralph Lauren: Lauren for Women launched in 1996, offering sportswear, denim, dresses, activewear, and accessories and footwear at a cheaper price point. Lauren for Men offers men's tailored clothing, including suits, sport coats, dress shirts, dress pants, tuxedos, topcoats, and ties at a cheaper price point. This brand generally slots above Chaps in price, but below Polo Ralph Lauren.
- Ralph by Ralph Lauren: Launched in 1994, Ralph by Ralph Lauren offers suit separates, sport coats, vests, and topcoats.
- Polo Golf and RLX Golf: Polo Golf launched in 1990 and RLX Golf launched in 1998.
- Pink Pony: Established in 2000, a percentage of sales from all Pink Pony products benefit the Pink Pony Fund and other major cancer charities around the world. Pink Pony primarily consists of women's sportswear and accessories. All Pink Pony items feature a pink Polo Player.
- Polo Ralph Lauren Children: Items include polo knit shirts and cashmere cable sweaters.
- Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren: The Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren line launched in 2011, inspired by the warehouse and artist communities of Brooklyn, New York and authentic style found in the music festival scene.
- Chaps: A mid-range brand featuring casual sportswear, workday, and dresses. Available primarily at Kohl's and Belk stores.
- Club Monaco: Club Monaco designs and markets its own clothing and accessories for men and women.
- American Living: Polo Ralph Lauren launched American Living for men and women in 2008, a mid-range lifestyle brand created exclusively for JCPenney. This line was discontinued in 2012 due to poor sales. A different American Living line is now sold at Macy's; this line only includes women's clothing.
- Ralph Lauren Home and Paint: Ralph Lauren Home, the first complete home collection from an American clothing designer, makes its debut in 1983 with home furnishings and accessories. Ralph Lauren Home includes furniture, bed and bath linens, china, crystal, silver, decorative accessories and gifts, as well as lighting, fabric, wallcovering, and floorcovering. Ralph Lauren launched Paint in 1995, now with over 400 palettes.
- Fragrance: In 1978, Ralph Lauren launched his first fragrances: Lauren for women and Polo for men. Originally produced by Warner-Lauren, Ltd, L’Oréal now produces the Ralph Lauren Fragrances for men and women, including World of Polo (Polo, Polo Blue, Polo Black, Polo Red), Ralph Lauren Romance, Midnight Romance and the Big Pony Collections For Women and For Men.
- Ralph Lauren Restaurants: RL Restaurant opened in 1999, adjacent to the Ralph Lauren Chicago store on Michigan Avenue. In 2010, Ralph's was opened in the courtyard and converted stables at 173 Boulevard Saint Germain Paris flagship store. In August 2014, Ralph's Coffee opened on the second floor of the Polo Flagship store in New York City. The Polo Bar, adjacent to the New York City Polo Flagship store, opened in January 2015.
The Company ended Fiscal 2016 with 493 directly operated stores: 144 Ralph Lauren stores, 77 Club Monaco stores and 272 Polo factory stores. The Company also operated 583 concession shop locations worldwide at the end of the year.
In addition to Company-operated locations, international licensing partners operated 93 Ralph Lauren stores and 42 dedicated shops, as well as 133 Club Monaco stores and shops at the end of Fiscal 2016.
Ralph Lauren operates its representative flagship stores in New York City on Madison Avenue – for menswear in the former Rhinelander Mansion, and for womenswear and home in another structure, across the street, which opened in 2010. The company also manages flagships, for retailing Ralph Lauren collections, in Chicago, Manhasset, Greenwich (USA), London, Milan, Tokyo, Moscow, and Paris.
In 2005, The United States Tennis Association selects Ralph Lauren Corporation as the official apparel sponsor for the U.S. Open. As part of the partnership, all on-court ball persons and officials will be dressed in specially-designed Ralph Lauren apparel. This is Polo's first tennis sponsorship.
In 2006, Ralph Lauren Corporation became the official outfitter of Wimbledon. Lauren is the first designer in the tennis tournament’s history to be chosen to create uniforms for all on-court officials.
U.S. Olympic Team
Ralph Lauren Corporation is the exclusive Official Parade Outfitter for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, with the right to manufacture, distribute, advertise, promote, and sell products in the U.S. which replicate the Parade Outfits and associated leisure wear. The Company has established a partnership with athletes serving as brand ambassadors and as the faces of the advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns.
Ralph Lauren Corporation partners with the United States Olympic Committee to become an Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic Team, for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 2012 Summer Olympics in London, 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Ralph Lauren designs the official Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony parade outfits for the U.S. teams in addition to an assortment of village-wear apparel and accessories.
In 1994, Ralph Lauren acted as chairman and creates the name and symbol for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a charitable initiative of the CFDA that marshals the goodwill and services of the fashion industry to raise public awareness and funds for breast cancer internationally.
In 2000, Ralph Lauren Corporation launched its Volunteer Program, which energises employees and creates meaningful connections with the communities in which they work.
On September 15, 2000, Ralph Lauren Corporation launched the Pink Pony Campaign, a national initiative to reduce disparities in cancer care by raising awareness as well as enhancing prevention, screening, and treatment in poor and underserved communities.
In 2001, the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation established the American Heroes Fund following September 11 to allow Polo's 10,000 employees worldwide, as well as their customers, the opportunity to participate in the relief effort.
In 2003, Ralph Lauren established the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem. The Center is a collaboration between Ralph Lauren, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and North General Hospital in Harlem, New York City.
In 2004, the Polo Fashion School was established, in which company executives work with inner-city youth to offer insights into the fashion business.
Established in 2006, the Polo Jeans G.I.V.E. (Get Involved Volunteer Exceed) campaign was created to inspire and encourage community service through volunteerism by supporting the efforts of dedicated volunteers and their causes.
In 2008, the Star-Spangled Banner, the original 1813 flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem, was preserved by a $10 million contribution to Save America's Treasures from Polo Ralph Lauren in 1998. The flag was then unveiled on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 in a new gallery at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in Washington D.C.
In 2014, Ralph Lauren Corporation partnered with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the largest and most comprehensive cancer center in Europe, to develop a world-class breast cancer research facility. In 2016, Ralph Lauren Corporation opened the Royal Marsden Ralph Lauren Center for Breast Cancer Research.
Levi Strauss lawsuit
Levi Strauss & Co. filed a lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch and the RL Corporation in July 2007 for trademark infringement. It alleged that the separate retailers used Levi's trademarked pocket design of connected arches in the design of some of their respective products.
South African Polo trademark issues
Filippa Hamilton photo controversy
In 2009, Ralph Lauren apologized for digitally retouching a photograph of model Filippa Hamilton to make her look thinner. Hamilton also claims that she was fired by Ralph Lauren a few days later. Another model's photo was also digitally retouched adding to the row of models.
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Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. will become the first external company in 129 years to outfit the tournament's on-court officials, who will exchange their green polyester grass-blending jackets for smart navy blue ones. In the past, Wimbledon has done its own design of officials' uniforms.
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