Polo Ralph Lauren targets China

15 February 2011

BEIJING: Polo Ralph Lauren, the luxury specialist, is to increase its focus on affluent Chinese consumers, and is seeking to build its presence in both major and lower-tier cities.

The high-end fashion brand beat analysts' expectations to post revenues of $1.55bn (€1.15bn; £969m) for fiscal Q3, with sales up 15% year on year.

Recently, Polo Ralph Lauren has opened specialist stores around the world, rather than relying on licensees to sell its goods as part of concessions in department stores and other retail outlets.

Ralph Lauren, chairman and ceo of the firm, said: "The response to our new global flagship stores has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am thrilled with the reception we've experienced with our luxury accessories product."

Speaking to the Financial Times, Roger Farah, Polo Ralph Lauren's president, said that further store openings in Chinese cities will now be a priority for the firm.

As yet, Polo Ralph Lauren has yet to open a flagship store in China.

"We think we need to properly position the brand," Farah said.

"A lot of second- and third-tier cities [in China] are now beginning to gel and exhibiting customer demand, and so we are going to have to look at those at the same time we're looking at the primary cities for key locations."

North America currently accounts for roughly 70% of Polo Ralph Lauren's overall sales, while Asia is well behind on 9%.

Data sourced from Barron's/Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff