NEW YORK, June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — On June 7th, Ralph Lauren announced it would close 50 stores and lay off 1,000 employees as part of a dramatic restructuring in response to lower sales. Interestingly, the announcement didn’t reveal much about how the company plans to correct its course– but industry insiders speculate that Larsson’s history at discount retailers Old Navy and H&M hold the answer.
To fill in the blanks, MediaRadar analyzed Ralph Lauren’s advertising before and after Larsson’s start. The data shows two key course changes that shed some light on their new strategic direction:
A move away from luxury. While total marketing investment level didn’t materially shift year-over-year, there has been a decided move away from supporting their luxury lines. In the first five months of 2015, fully 55% of marketing was for Purple Label and Ralph Lauren Collection – their most expensive, most luxurious lines. Just one year later however, that allocation has been slashed to 26%. Instead, the lower-priced Polo and eponymous Ralph Lauren lines are the focus. Together they now represent 64% of all ads.
A narrowing product focus. In the five months from January to May, 2015, Ralph Lauren marketed 29 specific product lines. One year later this list was culled to just 14. The brands continuing with the most emphasis are Ralph Lauren, Polo, Lauren, and Denim & Supply. Smaller lines like Chaps and RLX didn’t get marketing support at all.
“By analyzing their marketing spend carefully, we can see where Ralph Lauren strategy may be heading,” says Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar.
This data shows a key pivot from the company as the epitome of luxury designer wear to a focus on affordable fashion. For Larsson, this is a turnkey positioning solution, since he helped revitalize H&M and Old Navy to the powerhouse brands they are today.
MediaRadar is a multimedia sales intelligence tools that tracks and provides insight into how advertiser dollars are spent across print, digital, mobile and TV. This company has 1,400 clients including WhoWhatWear, WWD, Elle, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg. MediaRadar is a forward-thinking, innovative company that identifies key advertiser trends across industries.