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Ralph Lauren Corp reported its ninth straight fall in quarterly sales at established stores as fewer customers visited its stores, sending the company's shares down 3 percent to levels last seen during the financial recession. The company also said it expected the sales decline to continue in the current quarter. Same-store sales during the quarter fell 12 percent, widely missing the 6.5 percent decline analysts polled by Consensus Metrix had expected.

That contributed to a 16.3 percent fall in overall sales to $1.57 billion, also hurt by a drop in the average transaction size as company's move to sell more items at full price discouraged shoppers. As a result of these efforts, selling, general and administrative expenses fell about 15 percent in the fourth quarter ended April 1. Cost of goods sold slumped nearly 13 percent.

On a post-earnings conference call, Ralph Lauren said it pulled back inventory with its wholesale partners, lowered sales in the off-price channel, engaged in fewer promotional periods, shuttered stores and exited brands in the quarter. Ralph Lauren's gross margins on an adjusted basis rose 90 basis points to 55.4 percent.



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