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Ralph Lauren CEO says metaverse is the way to grab younger shoppers

Customers leave 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 meta-verse 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 clothing and come on a virtual visit - or even get a virtual coffee - at the company's Madison Avenue store. He said the retailer is considering buying real estate in the digital world where e-commerce, gaming and social media collide.

Plus, Louvet said he personally attends: He had already dressed his avatar in a rugby jersey.

"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 actually a lot of parallels between the metaverse and Ralph's vision because we're not a fashion company. We're in the dream business."

An increasing number of retailers are dipping their toes into the metaverse. Nike acquired a virtual sneaker company, RTFKT, last month. Walmart recently filed trademarks that could pave the way for selling virtual goods from home furnishings to personal care products and for offering virtual currency and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, to users. And luxury brands, including Ralph Lauren and Gucci, have launched virtual experiences.

Louvet said that Ralph Lauren participates in the metaverse platform Zepeto and the gaming site Roblox, where shoppers can dress their avatars in Ralph Lauren clothing. He said the company has already seen how the meta-verse could drive revenue. After just a few weeks at Zepeto, it sold more than 100,000 units, he said.

He said Ralph Lauren has not yet sold NFTs - but is also considering how it can boost its brand.

"We're learning," he said. "We're experimenting. I think we're going to see consumers keep being attracted to these spaces as they expand."

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