NEW YORK (AP) -- Ralph Lauren Corp. posted a 27 percent gain in its fiscal third-quarter profit as the designer clothing company enjoyed continued momentum in spending among its affluent shoppers in the U.S. and improving trends in Europe during the crucial winter holidays.
During a call with investors, Roger Farah, president and chief operating officer, talked about how Ralph Lauren is expanding its reach to online shoppers overseas. The company serves customers online in 11 countries throughout Europe and is expanding its reach in Asia.
QUESTION: Can you elaborate on your plans to boost your global e-commerce business?
ANSWER: During the third quarter, we expanded our global e-commerce capabilities, leveraging our existing European sites to service Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal. Today we are servicing customers online in 11 countries throughout Europe. Two recent launches, Ralph Lauren in Japan and Club Monaco in North America, have gotten off to strong starts and confirm the growing importance of e-commerce. We continue to invest in this expanding online reach, particularly in Asia. Korea will be launched later this year, followed by China.
As this year's holiday industry sales figures attest to, the continued shift in the customer's preference to shop online is undeniable. Industrywide, online sales expanded at double-digit rates as brick-and-mortar stores struggled with sluggish customer traffic trends. Sales on smartphones and tablets are growing at an even faster rate. Traffic to ralphlauren.com from mobile devices was up 35 percent in the third quarter.