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Ralph Lauren CEO says metaverse is way to tap into younger generation of shoppers

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Customers exit a Ralph Lauren Corp. store in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Christopher Dilts | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ralph Lauren CEO Patrice Louvet said Monday that the fashion brand is chasing opportunities in the metaverse as a way to attract younger shoppers.

At the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, he said consumers can already buy Ralph Lauren’s digital apparel and make a virtual visit — or even have a virtual coffee — at the company’s Madison Avenue store. He said the retailer is considering whether to buy real estate in that digital world, where e-commerce, gaming and social media collide.

Plus, Louvet said he’s personally participating: He already dressed his avatar in a rugby shirt.

“One of our strategies is to win over a new generation and the new generation is there. So we have to be there,” he said. “There are a lot of parallels actually between the metaverse and Ralph’s vision because we are not a fashion company. We are in the dreams business.”

A growing number of retailers are dipping their toes in the metaverse. Nike bought a virtual sneaker company, RTFKT, last month. Walmart recently filed trademarks that could pave the way to sell virtual goods from home decor to personal care products and to offer virtual currency and nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, to users. And luxury brands, including Ralph Lauren and Gucci, have launched virtual experiences.

Louvet said Ralph Lauren is participating in metaverse platform Zepeto and gaming site Roblox, where shoppers can dress their avatars in Ralph Lauren apparel. He said the company has already seen how the metaverse could drive revenue. After a just a few weeks on Zepeto, it sold more than 100,000 units, he said.

He said Ralph Lauren has not yet sold NFTs — but is considering how that could boost its brand, too.

“We are learning,” he said. “We are experimenting. I do think that we are going to see consumers continue to be attracted to these spaces as they expand.”

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