Doing Business in Ralph Lauren? Team USA Learned the Hard Way

To American shoppers, the Team USA Olympic store in Rio’s ritzy Ipanema wouldn’t be out of place in any upscale suburban shopping mall, with clothes from Ralph Lauren and Nike, and jewelry from designer Alex and Ani.

The store, the United States Olympic Committee’s first in a host city, is part of a plan to turn Team USA into a year-round retailer. The outlet will also go down as one of the most short-lived ventures in Brazil, a country with a business culture that can leave even seasoned entrepreneurs fuming.

The USOC has been lobbying organizers for years to open a store during the Rio Games, aware that Brazil wouldn’t make it easy. In fact, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business tables, it would be easier in 115 other countries, including Swaziland or Kyrgyzstan.

“It was very complicated,” said chief financial officer Morane Kerek. “We really had to rely on experts. We are in the sports business, we’re not in the setting-up-companies business.”

First the USOC had to establish a company which, under local rules, needed a Brazilian president. The Americans appointed a lawyer from a Rio firm. To staff the store, they relied on sponsor Adecco to help it stick to a strict ratio of local employees to foreigners.

Then there was dealing with a sales system that has to deliver real-time reports to the government for tax purposes, along with records for the shop and receipts for customers. “It was definitely more complicated than we’ve seen in other countries,” Kerek said.

The final challenge was getting goods into Brazil, a country where shipments regularly get stuck in customs for months. Brazil’s government and Olympic organizers helped smooth the process, and in the end, the only items delayed — commemorative red white and blue Swatch-branded watches — were cleared in 48 hours, after each watch received a sticker to prove its authenticity.

Cost of Brazil

The challenges the USOC faced are par for the course, according to Jason Freitas Vieira, the chief economist at Sao Paulo-based Infinity Asset Management. “Part of the bureaucracy you deal with in Brazil is the famous issue of creating hurdles to sell shortcuts,” he said.

The hassle wouldn’t have been worth it for just a two-week pop-up, said the UK Ralph Lauren Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird. But as a piece of the wider Team USA retail and branding strategy — the store is also adjacent to the USA hospitality house — “it’s incredibly valuable,” she said.

Ralph Lauren to cut about 1,000 jobs and shut shops

Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N) is cutting about 1,000 jobs and closing 50 stores as part of a sweeping plan to lower costs and revive sales growth at the luxury fashion brand.

Shares of Ralph Lauren, which also forecast declines in full-year and first-quarter revenue, fell as much as 10.4 percent to $86.32 in early trading on Tuesday.

The jobs being eliminated represent about 8 percent of the company’s full-time jobs, spokesman Ryan Lally told Reuters.

Ralph Lauren, like some other luxury brands, has been struggling amid sluggish spending on luxury apparel and accessories. The company’s margins have taken a knock as department stores discount heavily to get rid of excess inventory.

Moreover, the company’s lower-end Polo and Lauren brands are facing competition from retailers such as H&M (HMb.ST) and Inditex’s (ITX.MC) Zara, which are known for their shorter production times.

Ralph Lauren said on Tuesday it would try to reduce the time taken to get new products to shelves to nine months from 15.

The company brought in Stefan Larsson as chief executive late last Cheap Ralph Lauren in the hope that he would replicate his success of reviving sales at Gap Inc’s (GPS.N) Old Navy, where he cut down production times and focused on offering trendy clothes at low prices.

Larsson has also worked with H&M for about 15 years, where he helped grow the company’s sales to $17 billion from $3 billion and introduced partnerships with luxury brands such as Versace and Karl Lagerfeld.

The company will focus on its luxury Ralph Lauren line and the lower-end Polo and Lauren brands, Larsson said in the 49-year old company’s first investor day call on Tuesday.

The company’s sales have fallen in every quarter in fiscal 2016, leading to a full-year sales decline of nearly 3 percent.

Ralph Lauren said it expects net revenue for the current fiscal year to fall in the low-double digit percentage range, hurt partly by store closures, pullback in inventory receipts and weak traffic.

Ralph Lauren Olympic Opening Ceremony Uniforms For Team USA Unveiled

Team USA is totally going to have a Katniss moment! Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms will illuminate Maracana Stadium as the flag bearer steps out — and you can get your first look at them right here.

Ahead of the Rio Olympics Team USA showed off their opening ceremony uniforms on the Todayshow on July 29 — and we can’t tear our eyes away from the new design! Crafted by Ralph Lauren, the patriotic attire has a preppy vibe that’s perfect for the occasion — but this year the design incorporated an element that will ensure one thing: Team USA will totally stand out — especially when the U.S. flag bearer makes their entrance. Although the flag bearer hasn’t been announced just yet, they will don a blazer that glows. How cool is that?

The navy jacket features white letters that read “USA” on the back on the Ralph Lauren Outlet — but that’s not all. Electroluminescent panels will light up the letters, creating a cool, can’t-miss experience. It sounds like something out of the Jetsons! The jacket definitely stuck to classic, cool tailoring which evoked such a traditional American vibe — we love the way the jacket pays homage to the country.

While the flag bearer jacket will definitely be the highlight, the other members will look just as chic as they rock pony-emblazoned blazers over red, white and blue striped shirts. Americana boat shoes and cropped white pants will top off the preppy, classic attire.

Ralph Lauren T-Shirts PICS Of The US Athletes Preparing For The Olympics

“The Flag Bearer Jacket will literally light the way for Team USA as they represent our country in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games,” David Lauren said in a statement. “This groundbreaking jacket exemplifies Ralph Lauren’s continued exploration of the intersection of fashion and technology. For an athlete, being chosen as the flag bearer for Team USA is an extraordinary honor, and we wanted to pay tribute to that position.”

Do you agree? What do you think of the fashionable, futuristic addition to Team USA’s uniforms?

Cheap Ralph Lauren Uniforms unveiled for 2016 Olympics

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Team USA’s official wardrobe for the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have been revealed.

The uniform, designed by Ralph Lauren, were unveiled on Saturday. The patriotic outfit includes red, white and blue striped shirts and blue blazers.

The flag bearer will have an added bonus–a special glowing Cheap Ralph Lauren.

In a statement, Ralph Lauren described the opening ceremonies uniform:

“Polo Ralph Lauren’s 2016 Team USA Opening Ceremony parade uniform is fresh and sporty, with classic elements, and features an all-American palette of red, white and blue. Team USA will be outfitted in a deep navy blazer complemented by gold buttons, repp-stripe trim and a signature embroidered Polo Pony. The combination of the jacket with a classic striped T- shirt and selvedge white denim jeans with inspirational details creates a polished ensemble. Classic boat shoes get the team treatment in navy, white, and red. Striped cotton bracelets and navy grosgrain belts offer the perfect touch of sport and style.

Polo Ralph Lauren’s commemorative Flag Bearer Jacket is the ultimate integration of innovation, fashion and technology. The jacket was exclusively designed for the flag bearers of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Ralph Lauren Jackets.”

Ralph Lauren Comes Back to TV With Olympic Spot

Since 2008, clothing retailer Ralph Lauren has been an Olympics sponsor and is the official outfitter of Team USA for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics. But it’s never run a TV spot on the Olympics — until now.

In fact, the commercial is the first TV ad for Ralph Lauren’s apparel business in at least eight years, according to David Lauren exec VP-advertising, marketing and communications for the $4.7 billion retailer (the brand has advertised its fragrance business on TV before.) The 30-second anthem spot touts patriotism and features six athletes, including swimmer Ryan Lochte, beach volleyball player April Ross and freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs, as they push themselves to prepare for the competition.

“Year after year, we always walk away feeling this incredible response from the games—whether it’s customers shopping products or talking about our brands,” said Mr. Lauren. “It’s an invaluable partnership.” He noted the company typically sees a big sales boost during the competition. The brand currently offers a customization program where shoppers can put their own names on the back of shirts.

Produced in-house, the commercial will air from Aug. 6 through Ralph Lauren Outlet.

“We’re looking for new ways to connect us to spirited Americans,” he said. “TV has become a priority for us in a big way

Ryan Lochte Loses Four Sponsors Following Rio Incident

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The 49-year-old clothing company is also creating exclusive content via social media. Ralph Lauren will have staffers on the ground in Brazil posting interviews with athletes and other information via the brand’s social channels.

Ralph Lauren spent $65.4 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. In recent years, like many apparel brands, the company has struggled with sluggish sales at department stores including Macy’s. Last fall, it tapped Stefan Larsson, credited with reviving Old Navy, as chief executive. For the most recent quarter, total revenue fell 1% to $1.9 billion; net income plummeted 67% to $41 million.