Ralph Lauren Corporation is expecting a slower growth in full-year revenue than initially predicted by analysts. The luxury apparel maker is concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which could lead to fresh lockdowns, store closures, and restrictions in some of its markets. These worries caused a drop of 8% in the company’s shares, despite the global luxury industry expected to rebound faster than anticipated after the pandemic’s impact.

CEO Patrice Louvet emphasized that the company is not yet completely free from the effects of COVID-19. Challenges still remain in Japan, Europe, and other parts of Asia due to the recent surge in infections. Governments have responded by imposing lockdown measures, significantly limiting the high-fashion market and dampening global digital sales.

Ralph Lauren also acknowledged the expectation of higher freight costs and global supply chain pressures, especially in the first quarter. Many retailers, including those in the packaged food and apparel sectors, are facing inflationary pressures as labor, raw material, and freight costs rise.

Despite these challenges, Louvet expressed optimism about the company’s future. Investments in digital platforms and the return of customers to physical stores as the pandemic situation improves are expected to benefit Ralph Lauren’s brands later in the year. For fiscal year 2022, the company projects a revenue increase of approximately 20% to 25% on a constant currency basis, which falls below the analysts’ expectation of a 31.1% rise.

Credit Suisse analyst Michael Binetti labeled Ralph Lauren’s forecast as “ultra conservative.” The company anticipates a first-quarter revenue increase of about 140% to 150%, but warned of potential disruptions caused by lockdowns and other restrictions. In the previous fiscal year’s fourth quarter, Ralph Lauren’s revenue reached approximately $1.29 billion, surpassing expectations for the first time in four quarters. However, sales in North America experienced a larger-than-expected 10% fall.

Ultimately, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s revenue forecast for the upcoming year falls short of expectations due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. The company remains cautious about further disruptions in its markets but holds hope that investments in digital platforms and the return of customers to physical stores will drive future growth.

For more information on Ralph Lauren Corporation’s outlook, visit:

1. Reuters: Ralph Lauren expects delayed recovery from coronavirus

2. CNBC: Ralph Lauren sees delayed rebound from COVID, misses estimates