Ralph Lauren sees sales gains in holiday quarter, raises dividend


Ralph Lauren Corp on Wednesday raised the low end of its full-year sales forecast on the expectation of strong gains during the holiday quarter, and the designer clothing company increased its dividend.

Shares of Ralph Lauren rose 2.2 percent to $175 in premarket trading.

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Business was strongest at Ralph Lauren's own stores, which generate just under half of companywide sales and where revenue rose 6.5 percent, stripping out currency fluctuations.

Revenue increased 1 percent in the wholesale business, which sells brands like Polo and Lauren by Ralph Lauren at department stores such as Macy's Inc . The company said growth in North America had offset declines in shipments to European and Japanese customers.

Chief Operating Officer Jacki Nemerov in a statement cited those "encouraging trends" in raising the low end of the sales forecast.

Ralph Lauren now expects revenue for the year ending in late March to rise between 5 percent and 7 percent, versus an earlier range of 4 percent to 7 percent.

For the current quarter, which includes the holiday season, Ralph Lauren said it expected revenue to be up between 8 percent and 10 percent, despite a two-point hit from currency movements.

The company said net revenue, including from licensing, rose 2.8 percent to $1.915 billion in the second quarter ended September 28. The result was in line with Wall Street projections.

Ralph Lauren reported a profit $205 million, or $2.23 per share, down from $214 million, or $2.29 per share, a year earlier, but above analysts' forecasts by 3 cents.

The company raised its annual dividend 12.5 percent to $1.80 per share.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Von Ahn)