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Ralph Lauren goes vintage as RRL line makes UK retail debut

Ralph Lauren has opened its first RRL store in the UK, taking the global number of RRL menswear outlets to seven.

The vintage-inspired brand opened the store on London’s Mount Street on November 11. As well as RRL, it will also sell a mix of Ralph Lauren and non-Ralph Lauren vintage pieces at prices up to £3,000.

RRL also has three stores in New York, one in the Hamptons, and two in California – in Los Angeles and Malibu.

The London store stocks RRL men’s denim, tailoring, casualwear and footwear. Prices for the RRL line start at £65 for T-shirts and rise to £915 for outerwear. The shopfit was inspired by Prohibition-era New York.

RRL has two dedicated staff sourcing “interesting vintage treasures” that will sit well alongside the RRL brand. Vintage pieces will take up 4% to 5% of the shopfloor and at the time of writing included an antique First World War aviator jacket for £1,870, a collector’s Japanese manga bomber jacket, military clothing and vintage footwear.

According to Mount Street store staff, the vintage items are being restored where necessary, for instance with replacement zips or soles.

RRL has not courted publicity, focusing instead on exclusivity. The positioning of the RRL store on Mount Street, alongside Balenciaga, Loewe and Mackintosh, supports this positioning.

RRL sits alongside other brands in the Ralph Lauren portfolio including Ralph Lauren Purple, Black, Polo and Golf. 

Ralph Lauren this month reported a 13.8% rise in income for the three months to October 1, to $233.5m (£149.2m), compared with $205.2m (£131.1m) a year ago.

Total revenue rose 24.3% to $1.9bn (£1.2bn) from $1.53bn (£977m). However, gross margins fell to 56.6% from 58% in 2010.

According to luxury trade body Wal­pole, the UK luxury sector is predicted to grow 57% to £9.4bn by 2015, .

A survey by consultancy firm Ledbury Research found that 91% of luxury brands were confident sales would rise in 2011, with the market set to grow 10% by the end of this year.

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