Ralph Lauren is latest victim in new retail era

Helen Gardner, shopping on New York’s Fifth Avenue with her boyfriend on Tuesday, left the Polo store without buying anything. “It’s quite old-fashioned,” said the 28-year-old visitor from London. “It’s not for the young crowd.” Then she lowered the boom. She’s bought Ralph Lauren clothing before, she said, “but just from outlets.” Ralph Lauren, the retail avatar, has spent a half-century selling his Gatsby-esque fantasy of the American Dream. But now, at 77, Lauren is confronting life after the...

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