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The Wall Street Journal: Ralph Lauren looks to boost profit margins after years of restructuring

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Ralph Lauren Corp. aims to buy back more stock and boost its profit margins as it benefits from strong consumer demand after years of restructuring.

The New York-based luxury retailer on Monday said it plans to spend a combined $2 billion on shareholder rewards through April 2025. That is up 22.8% from the $1.63 billion it spent on buybacks and dividends over a three-year period through April 2022, filings show.

Ralph Lauren
RL,
-2.14%

bought back $234.7 million in shares and paid $48.1 million in dividends during the quarter ended July 2.

The company also wants to grow its operating margin to at least 15% by April 2025. That is higher than the 12.8% in operating margin it recorded for the fiscal year ended in April and up from -1% in the prior year, filings show. Negative operating margins can indicate financial difficulty for companies.

To hit its margin target, Ralph Lauren intends to expand its international operations, including through new stores in North America and Asia, and focus on sales of higher-end products, said Jane Nielsen, the company’s chief financial and chief operating officer. “We already have momentum and that’s what’s giving us confidence,” Nielsen said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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