by Brian Lipton

Ralph Lauren Corporation Purple Label

Ralph Lauren Corporation has reported both its full year and fourth quarter results, which were both primarily lower than last year. Nonetheless, the company is predicting growth this year under recently appointed CEO and president Stefan Larsson.

“Fiscal 2016 was a year of significant change for our company as we established a new organizational structure and appointed a new CEO,” said founder Ralph Lauren, who retains the titles executive chairman and chief creative officer. “I am greatly encouraged by the changes that have already taken shape over the past several months under Stefan’s leadership and he has my full support as he and his team build and implement our new strategic growth plan.”

“We have made great progress over the past few months in developing our long-term growth strategy,” said Larsson. “Immediately following the comprehensive assessment work we undertook after I arrived at the company, we started developing our new strategic plan and building the foundation to start executing. We are looking forward to sharing the plan at our Investor Day on June 7th. We are confident that our new strategic plan will strengthen the brand, drive sustainable profitable sales growth and deliver shareholder value.”

While no specifics were provided, the company did announce that is was authorizing additional $200 million stock repurchase program permitting the company to purchase shares of Class A Common Stock, subject to market conditions. This amount is in addition to the $100 million available at the end of the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2016 as part of a previously authorized stock repurchase program, bringing the company’s total current authorization to $300 million.

As for the financial results, the company reported net income of $74 million, or $0.88 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2016, as opposed to net income of $124 million, or $1.41 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2015. Net income for the full year Fiscal 2016 period was $546 million, or $6.36 per diluted share, compared to net income of $702 million, or $7.88 per diluted share, for Fiscal 2015.

The company ended Fiscal 2016 with 493 directly operated stores, comprised of 144 Ralph Lauren stores, 77 Club Monaco stores and 272 Polo factory stores. In addition to company-operated locations, international licensing partners operated 93 Ralph Lauren stores and 42 dedicated shops, as well as 133 Club Monaco stores and shops at the end of Fiscal 2016.