Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

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Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
Type Public
Genre Apparel marketing & retail
Founded 1968
Founder(s) Ralph Lauren
Headquarters New York, U.S.A.
Industry Apparel; consumer goods
Revenue USD 4.41 billion (2006) [1]
Net income USD 409.00 million (2006) [2]
Employees 14,000 [3]
Website http://www.polo.com

Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation engages in the design, marketing, and distribution of lifestyle products primarily in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. The company offers apparel products, including a collection of men's, women's, and children's clothing; accessories, including footwear, eyewear, jewelry, and leather goods, such as handbags and luggage; home furnishing products that include bedding and bath products, furniture, fabric and wallpaper, paints, broadloom, tabletop, and giftware; and fragrance products under Glamorous, Romance, Polo, Lauren, Safari, Blue Label, and Black Label brands. It sells its products to department stores, specialty stores, and golf and pro shops in the United States and Europe; full-price and factory retail stores located in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia; and online through Polo.com. In addition, the company licenses its products, such as apparel, eyewear, and fragrances to third parties. As of March 31, 2007, it operated 147 full price retail stores, including 74 Ralph Lauren stores, 64 Club Monaco stores, and 9 Rugby stores; and 145 factory stores. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in New York, New York. [4]

Company History

Born Ralph Lipschitz in 1939, the name of American designer Ralph Lauren has became synonymous with status, class, and taste. In 1968, he launched a menswear line, Polo, offering styles that were refined, a mix of English classic and traditional American, and conveyed the image of landed gentry to a society that had little use for class, but enormous use for money. In 1971 Lauren introduced his women's line, which developed into four lifestyle groups: collection, classics, country, and active. Eyewear was launched in 1974, boyswear and the fragrances Polo for men and Lauren for women in 1978. Girls' clothing was introduced in 1981; footwear followed in 1982; an extensive home collection in 1983; then came scarves, hosiery, sleepwear, leather goods, luggage, jewelry, and finally his Safari fragrance in 1990. One of the secrets of Lauren's success lay in his obsession with detail, always checking product quality and maintaining tight control over the brand image he crafted so carefully. This enabled him to leverage the Polo/Ralph Lauren brand with over 25 lucrative licensing contracts, as well as introduce sub-brands such as Polo Sport (in 1994) targeted to a younger, more active adult. [5]

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Corporate Accountability

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  • 2002 -- class action lawsuit accusing the high-end retailer of illegally forcing its sales staff to spend thousands of dollars each year to dress in the company's latest fashions. Firm agreed to pay up to $1.5 million to settle lawsuit. [6]
  • May 30, 2006 -- class action employment lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court against Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. The lawsuit alleges that Polo has engaged in practices that violate California labor & business laws, including failure to pay overtime, provide breaks, detaining workers after paid hours, etc. [7]



  • 1997: Adopted company code of conduct -- note that these Operating Guidelines are only available upon request; not publicly posted
  • 1997: ended manufacturing in Burma [8]
  • 1998: revised Operating Guidelines to include 15 year old limit for workers and 60 hour maximum work week
  • unknown date -- company endorsed National Labor Committee's Maternity Leave Pledge in Bangladesh [9]

Campaigns against company:

The letter called attention to "alleged attacks and death threats against striking workers at the Chong Won factory" and noted concern "that these alleged incidents appear to be part of a larger pattern of harassment and violence against workers, labour leaders and human rights promoters that could discourage companies from doing business with your country." The signatories include: American Eagle Outfitters, Gap Inc., Jones Apparel Group, Liz Claiborne Inc., Phillips-Van Heusen, Polo Ralph Lauren, VF Corporation, Wal-Mart. [16]

Major reports:
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee. 2004. "Conditions of Women Workers in Special Economic Zones and Labour Standards in Supplier Factories of German Garment Retailer Companies and Brands in China"
Maquila Solidarity Network. 2006. "Transparency Report Card"

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Financial Information (as of DATE)

Ticker Symbol: RL
Main Exchanges: NYSE
Investor Website: http://investor.ralphlauren.com/

Major direct holders:

  1. Ralph Lauren
  2. Roger N. Farah
  3. Jackwyn Nemerov
  4. Arnold H. Aronson
  5. Frank A. Bennack, Jr.

Top institutional holders:

  1. Janus Capital Management 3.54%
  2. Fidelity Management & Research Corp. 3.45%
  3. Vanguard Group 3.01%

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Contact Information

650 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10022
Fax:1-212-318-7690; 212-888-5780

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