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Ralph Lauren closes stores as sales slump

Associated Press Associated Press 7/06/2016

Ralph Lauren is closing stores, cutting jobs and focusing more on its most popular brands to try to reverse its declining fortunes.

The changes are the first big moves from chief executive Stefan Larsson, who replaced company founder Ralph Lauren in the role late last year.

Lauren is still executive chairman and chief creative officer of the fashion and home decor business he created.

The New York company, known for its polo shirts and pony logo, plans to close more than 50 stores, or about 10 per cent of its total retail stores.

It will let go approximately 1000 of its 15,000 full-time employees, or almost seven per cent.

It will focus more on its three best-selling brands - Ralph Lauren, Polo and Lauren - and devote fewer resources to its smaller ones, such as Chaps and RLX.

The company also hopes to produce its clothing faster, cutting six months from the production process to make it nine months.

Ralph Lauren expects the restructuring to save it between $US180 million and $US220 million ($A244.30 million and $A298.59 million) a year.

That's on top of $US125 million in cost cuts from last year.

It expects to incur restructuring charges of up to $US400 million for the year and inventory-related charges of up to $US150 million.

For the current quarter, it expects revenue to fall in the mid-single digits and fall in the low double digits for the year.

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