For Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL) , it's all style and no substance right now—at least in terms of its stock, according to Barclays.
Despite Lauren's flashy show at New York Fashion Week, in which models fluttered down the runway next to 26 of the rarest cars in the world, the designer's stock rating on Wall Street saw a considerable decline this past year. Analysts at Barclay downgraded its rating to underweight, Tuesday, Sept. 19, citing the company's opaque turnaround plans for sales.
"RL's sales have been under pressure over the past couple of years amidst evolving consumer preferences and product that became less relevant," the analysts wrote, but specific initiatives have yet to be seen.
The brand kicked off a Way Forward plan in June 2016 to revitalize the company, the first step of which was to close 50 stores and cut 1,000 jobs. More recently, to emphasize revenue growth, Ralph Lauren aims to increase its digital presence, CEO Patrice Louvet said last month.
But Lauren's strong relationship with Macy's Inc. (M) , which represents more than 10% of its overall sales, also causes concern, Barclays added. It faces heightened competition from fast fashion competitors like H&M (H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB) and Forever 21, all of which offers one of Ralph Lauren's more popular items, the polo shirt, at lower prices.
Barclay's gloomy outlook extends beyond Ralph Lauren. The entire apparel received a neutral view in its Tuesday report, in fact. "There is significant merit to the much-publicized concerns around the retail sector, as the combination of likely structural brick and mortar traffic pressures," it reads, citing risks prompted Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) and niche brands.
Other analysts, however, are warmer toward Ralph Lauren. The stock grew by more than 5% since its earnings release in August. The retailer beat Wall Street predictions and reported a first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.11 per share. Credit Suisse and New Constructs are among the analysts to upgrade the stock earlier this month. Louvet joined Ralph Lauren just last May, after a stint as president of the beauty division for Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) .
- Amazon U.K. Workers Earn Below Minimum Wage After Paying Mandatory Bus 'Benefit'
- Microsoft's New Xbox One X Shows It's Done Trying to Please Everyone
- Billionaire Warren Buffett Thinks U.S. Haters Are 'Out of Their Minds'
- Coolest Apple iOS 11 Features That You Might Have Missed