May 25, 2012, 10:52 AM

Ralph Lauren sees more global e-commerce coming soon

Web sales increased about 30% in fiscal 2012.

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With e-commerce sales at Ralph Lauren Corp. growing annually by 30%, the apparel manufacturer and retailer has a big appetite to take on more international expansion.

Ralph Lauren, No. 69 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500 already is selling online in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. But with a fast-growing e-commerce channel, Ralph Lauren in its 2013 fiscal year, which began April 1, will expand to Japan, chief operating officer Roger Farah told Wall Street analysts this week on the company’s year-end earnings call.

“We will continue to invest in this high-growth global channel with more dedicated marketing, more sophisticated technology and more focus on delivering a best-in-class customer experience,” Farah told analysts. “For fiscal 2013, we intend to launch e-commerce in Japan in the second half of the year. We will also be doubling the capacity at RalphLauren.com with dedicated U.S. customer service and distribution center in order to support an expected doubling of the business from current levels.”

For the 2012 fiscal year ended March 31, Ralph Lauren reported:

  •  Web sales grew about 30% to around $479.9 million from $369 million.
  •  Total sales increased 17% to $3.24 billion from $2.77 billion on fiscal 2011.
  •  Comparable-store sales increased 14%.
  •  Net income increased year over year 20% to $681 million from $567.6 million.
  •  The web accounted for 14.8% of total sales compared with about 13.3% in fiscal 2011.

“In fiscal 2013, there are a few areas of incremental investment that are expected to become important contributors to our growth for the next decade,” chief financial officer Tracey Travis told analysts. “These include continued global e-commerce development with a more concerted focus on building capabilities in Asia in order to continue to support our customers' desire for channel shopping options.”

For the fourth quarter Ralph Lauren also reported:

  • Web sales grew 30%, but the company didn’t reveal any dollar amounts.
  • Total sales increased 14.5% to $1.58 billion from $1.38 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 12%.
  • Net income increased year over year 29% to $94.4 million from $73.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.
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