As the dismal, jobless Obama economy continues, clothing retailer Ralph Lauren has announced a major scaling back of its U.S. operations, with the loss of one thousand jobs and the closure of 50 stores.
As USA Today reports, Ralph Lauren CEO Stefan Larsson, who only recently replaced the company’s founder as CEO, announced the move as part of his restructuring plan aimed at saving $220 million over the next year.
“The business has struggled over the last three years,” the CEO said. “We have to do a better job to give the consumer something really exciting.”
The plan comes on the heels of a troubled past fiscal year where profits fell by 22 percent as the stock fell almost 48 percent from its December high point of $182.74 a share.
The experience of Ralph Lauren is not an outlier. The retail sector is still contracting as the U.S. economy continues to struggle with anemic growth in the era of President Barack Obama. Numerous retailers have announced store closures to try to keep ahead of the floundering retail climate.
Recently, the New York Post pointed out that this year’s store closings are already outpacing that of this time last year.
The paper lists nearly half-a-dozen firms that are closing stores. Men’s Wearhouse, Kohl’s, Walmart, JCPenny, Gap, and Macy’s are all in the losing category, with closings already totaling a 33.2 percent rise above store closings in 2015.
The fall has continued over the last few years. 2015 was a 29 percent increase from the numbers in 2014, and 2014 was up from 2013.
“We are hitting a tipping point,” Richard Church, managing director of Discern Investment Analytics, told the Post. “We are in a weak demand environment that could meaningfully accelerate next year.”
By some analysis in 2014, the retail sector suffered a “tsunami” of store closings as retailers such as Sears, JCPenney, Radio Shack, office supply chain Staples, and Macy’s were hit by a wave of store closings. Other retailers, like Sam’s Club and Target, laid off thousands of people as they closed their stores.
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