POLO RALPH LAUREN CUT TO HOLD FOR “STUPID BATH MAT.”
An analyst from Noah Dunne Finkso has downgraded his rating on Polo Ralph Lauren, based in part to his disappointment over the company’s design for a beige bathroom rug.
“Our old mat was worn out, so my wife picked up a new one at Macy’s. Nothing fancy, just a plain, beige, 3-by-2 rectangle. But I happened to flip over a corner and there’s this Ralph Lauren tag. I’m like, Ralph Lauren? Really?
“I found out my wife got it on sale for $22, and I thought, this is a big, beige flag for the stock.”
Ralph Lauren, born Ralph Lifshitz in 1939, is an American designer best known for the polo player logo on the breast of his ubiquitous short-sleeved shirts. Polo Ralph Lauren is a diversified, international purveyor of fashion and home furnishings with a market capitalization of $13 billion.
“I think Lauren has made a huge mistake here. He’s cheapening the brand,” continued the analyst. “There is absolutely nothing special about this bath mat.
“There’s no design to it at all. It’s a freaking beige rectangle.”
“How can I wear my $400 Polo sweater or carry my $2500 Purple Label briefcase when I’m afraid people will look at me and say, hey, Ralph Lauren, didn’t he design that stupid bath mat?”
Representatives of Polo Ralph Lauren could not be reached for comment. Ralph Lauren is not believed to have been personally involved in the design of the bath mat.
An analyst at Hale Yessai Sherwood offers an opposing view. “We still rate Polo Ralph Lauren market outperform. Their top and bottom lines grew 14% last fiscal year, they’ve got robust cash flow, and they’ve barely scratched the surface of their Asian potential. Basic home furnishings are integral to their brand awareness, always have been.”
The Noah Dunne analyst counters, “Hey, I understand you want an entry-level brand builder. But somebody at Ralph Lauren has to look at this and say, whoa, for $22, can’t we do better than a freaking beige rectangle? If people want a freaking beige rectangle, they can get one at K-Mart for nine bucks.”
In fact, K-Mart’s website offers bath mats for $8.99, with free shipping. They are available in eight colors, including beige.