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Ralph Lauren launches "Rugby"!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
From AA: Ralph Lauren launches "Rugby". RALPH LAUREN has launched a new line, RUGBY, in an attempt to capture a greater piece of the $27.5 billion 18-to-24-year-old apparel market. Dubbing it "the new Polo", Lauren launched the label's first standalone Rugby's store in Boston, Massachusetts (using Boston's college town status) on October 23, 2004 and revealed plans to open approximately 40 stores over the next five years. "[Polo] is stronger than ever," he told Women's Wear Daily. "You do things when you're strong, not when you're weak. Polo is in its prime. Black Label, Collection, Blue Label; I believe all of them are growth areas." The new Ralph Lauren Rugby label will comprise corduroy pants, rugby shirts, crew neck sweaters, tweed jackets, mini-skirts, toggle coats, puffy vests and dresses. It makes Boston the launch pad for Lauren's first brand created exclusively for sale in his own stores, as opposed to offering pieces through department stores or other channels. "This is an opportunity to continue to control our destiny as we have been with our Ralph Lauren Polo stores," said Charles Fagan, executive vice president of global brand development, for Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. "We're already differentiating ourselves pretty significantly in our luxury stores," he added. "The strategy is working there, and we feel it will work for Rugby as well." Fagan said that about three-quarters of the merchandise sold in the 56 Polo Ralph Lauren stores worldwide are not offered anywhere else, but the Newbury Street Rugby store is the company's first that sells only merchandise unavailable elsewhere. Polo Ralph Lauren reported $2.6 billion in sales last year, with $1.2 billion coming from sales at its own stores. Next year, the company plans to offer the Rugby label through its Polo.com website, he said. Fagan would not disclose specific sales goals for Rugby. The company, though, is unequivocal about its plans to use the preppy-chic Rugby to get into the wallets of well-heeled college kids and newly minted young workers, a segment where it admittedly has a gap. To woo college kids, the company will advertise heavily in campus papers. That positions the collection squarely in the faces of one of the most free-spending apparel consumer groups. Shoppers between the ages of 18 and 24 spent $27.5 billion on clothes in the last 12 months, according to research firm NPD Fashionworld, of Port Washington, N.Y. That represents 16.2 percent of total apparel sales over the same period. Young women outspent young men nearly 2-to-1, according to the NPD data. The new Rugby collection is made up of men's and women's clothes, with prices ranging from $78 for cashmere blend cable sweaters or corduroys, to $298 for tweed flannel suit separates. Lauren, a designer notorious in fashion circles for being very involved in all aspects of his company, already has plans for Rugby stores in other cities with large college populations, including Chapel Hill, N.C. and Charlottesville, V.A. Boston was chosen to launch the brand in part because of its large concentration of college students and because Newbury Street fits with the company's strategy of clustering several stores nearby each other in urban shopping districts. There is already a Ralph Lauren store on Newbury Street. Among young Newbury Street shoppers on Monday, the Rugby store got mixed reviews. Most said they liked the clothes, but a few were put off by the prices. Rugby clothes "are not cheap, but are more reasonable," than those found in other Ralph Lauren stores, said Moneka Bahadur, an 18-year-old Boston University student. Added Liz Kauff, another 18-year-old BU student: "The prices are expensive. I can't afford [the clothes], but a lot of kids in the area can," she said. http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/Menswea....ews.htm So, what do you think? Jon.
post #2 of 18
Sounds like he's aiming at the Abercrombie/American Eagle crowd. I will say, I enjoy cords and a rugby shirt. I think his strategy of hitting college towns is intriguing, especially if he keeps them near campus and out of malls. It won't be hard for him to compete with Abercrombie on price, certainly.
post #3 of 18
I think he's beating Hackett to the punch, that is if they were planning on expanding to the US. Very smart move. Should provide competition to Abercrombie. But, correct me if I'm wrong, I thought Abercrombie's business was dropping.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
I think he's beating Hackett to the punch, that is if they were planning on expanding to the US.
Hackett did come to the US, a dozen or more years ago. They only tried to crack into a couple of markets, and it didn't go well, and didn't last long.
post #5 of 18
I completely agree. Rugby is better than polo. Who plays polo anymore, anyways? But rugby, using the boom of sides in the midwest in the last 25 years as evidence, is growing strong. It's a little more fun, too. Or maybe I misunderstood the article...
post #6 of 18
Quote:
"[Polo] is stronger than ever," he told Women's Wear Daily. "You do things when you're strong, not when you're weak...
What an interesting thing to say. Why the need to justify? *btw, I don't think she's read "The Art of War."
post #7 of 18
I found out about the Rugby store about a month after it opened, and have gone several times since then. There is a very heavy emphasis on prep traditions, mixed with more contemporary style. Lots of tweed and grosgrain, narrow lapels on suits and sport coats, bright colors, tartan pants, skinny repp ties, and chunky knits. Overall, more daring and youthful then regular Polo, with some seriously vintage, academy-inspired regalia (think crests on blazers). Kind of an Andover Shop meets plain-vanilla Polo deal. While some of the stuff borders on costume, a lot of it appeals to me (and surely those American/Trad boys on AA) and quality seems to be important.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Prices? Jon.
post #9 of 18
Cheaper, aimed at the 18-24 crowd. Sport coats go for around $350 - $500, ties and actual rugby shirts $68, jeans $70 - $130 (stuff I remember looking at). It's right around the corner from my office so if you're curious about something else I can probably go look.
post #10 of 18
I wandered into the Newbury St. shortly after it opened, and was actually interviewed by a Boston Globe reporter about it. My take is that, ironically, RL is jumping on a bandwagon that he actually originally popularized, and that this is indicative of his lack of creativity in the past while (RLPL started after Saville Row bcame popular again, Black label is starting up about 4 years after the strokes, 2 to three years after every other designer has done mod.) And if I wanted a tweed blazer, I'd buy a vintage Brooks Brother for $30 at a thrift store, or go to J. Press for the real deal, not pay $395 for a not particularly well made one at Rugby. And I'd wear my authentically broken in "Barbarian" rugby shirt from college, not get a Abercrombie style faux vintage deal.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Cheaper, aimed at the 18-24 crowd. Sport coats go for around $350 - $500, ties and actual rugby shirts $68, jeans $70 - $130 (stuff I remember looking at). It's right around the corner from my office so if you're curious about something else I can probably go look.
How is this cheaper than Polo? Corduroy Jackets ($197.50 $595 Retail, respectively): http://www.polo.com/product....=family http://www.polo.com/product....=family Long Sleeve Polo ($69.50): http://www.polo.com/product....=family Me thinks a rose by any other name smells as sweet. Jon.
post #12 of 18
I went to the Rugby store in Boston (one of the pilot stores, I think) and it looks like Harry Potter visits Rhinelander and goes mad. It's a fun store, but much of what they have (outrageously striped club jackets etc.) is too over-the-top. They also seem to really like to put enormous RL Rugby crests (which I don't like) and skull-and-crossbone (which I kind of like) on everything. It's not cheap, either. -boston
post #13 of 18
Curious, because I'm in the key demographic for Rugby...any place on the net to see what the store looks like, and/or the clothing itself?
post #14 of 18
im still caught up in semantics...polo is an aristocratic past-time, while rugby is more down and dirty. what's next, the ralph lauren "aussie rules footie" line?
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Quote:
(imageWIS @ Jan. 28 2005,08:57) "[Polo] is stronger than ever," he told Women's Wear Daily. "You do things when you're strong, not when you're weak...
What an interesting thing to say.  Why the need to justify? *btw, I don't think she's read "The Art of War."
I saw that too. Maybe she hasn't played a good game of poker either.
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