If you didn’t shop in a Ralph Lauren POLO shirt store recently, you might be surprised to discover the brand’s popular preppy shirts, sweaters and other sportswear with the polo-player logo. However, the most intersting thing should be those small accessories: $4,100 for men’s watches with polished stainless-steel cases, crocodile bags and lace-up dress shoes starting at around $500.
The first and foremost accessory should be the Ralph Lauren jewelry, Ralph Lauren launched fine jewelry since 2010 at the New York women’s store, including pavé diamonds links and chandelier earrings.
Even though Ralph Lauren has made luxury products for a long time, including the glamorous runway fashion collection, the brand has still been most identified in the public mind with moderate-to-upper-priced apparel in the Polo line. Polo contributes a significant portion of the company’s sales, according to Joan Payson, an analyst with Barclays.
Ralph Lauren Company is putting accessories like shoes, bags, scarves and belts at the front of its push into Asia and luxury’s upper reaches Ralph Lauren Outlet.
In February, Ralph Lauren named Valérie Hermann, the former CEO at luxury labels Reed Krakoff and Yves Saint Laurent, as the new president of Ralph Lauren Luxury Collections. She will oversee strategy, merchandising, distribution and expansion of the global luxury businesses, reporting to the 74-year-old designer.
“What we’ve begun to realize,” David Lauren, son of said, “as we expand globally into markets like China and develop an accessories business—which is critical in the development of retail in Asia—is that we need people who come with different experiences and a different sense of how to get things done,” he said. She’s helping us “to quickly understand that market and open the right stores, to market the right way, to understand that customer base.”
Ralph Lauren expects handbags, shoes and other leather goods to grow faster than the overall company for the next several years. “If you look at a lot of luxury brands today like Luis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Gucci, more than 70% of their products are accessories,” David Lauren said. “They don’t necessarily sell a lot of clothes. Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani are primarily clothing businesses. Our goal is to build our accessories business to be a much larger part of our business.”
“Today when you open a magazine you’re as likely to see a Ralph Lauren Ricky bag as you are a Ralph Lauren gown or suit.” David Lauren said.