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COVID-19 hits luxury expansion plans


The health crisis has hit demand for high-end handbags, apparel and accessories as more customers hold back on non-essential spending, forcing many companies to slow their expansion plans.

Ralph Lauren Corp plans to cut 15 per cent of its global workforce by the end of this fiscal year as the luxury retailer strives to lower costs and ride out the impact of COVID-19 on sales and shopping habits.

The New York-based fashion house, which has 530 stores globally, said the changes would see it move more business online. It has put the brakes on the industry's biggest ever merger, with France's LVMH trying to back out of its $16 billion deal to acquire Tiffany & Co.

The layoffs could result in gross annual pre-tax savings of about $180 million to $200 million, the company said. It expects to incur one-time pre-tax charges of about $120 million to $160 million in fiscal 2021. Britain's Burberry Group and luxury department store operator Harrods has also cut hundreds of jobs.