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How Ralph Lauren's Mass Closures Will Impact $1.44B In CMBS Loans


Ralph Lauren, the luxury apparel brand that has been around since the 1960s, announced plans this month to cut more than 1,000 jobs and close 50 stores in an effort to “evolve” following missed sales targets for the year.

Though the $7.2B retailer is repositioning to grab more shoppers online, a recent Morningstar Credit Ratings report shows its store closings will not endanger the CMBS loans backed by properties with Ralph Lauren as a tenant.

Currently, there are 30 retail centers underwritten by commercial loans that house Ralph Lauren stores, and Morningstar experts say the $1.44B owed in loans from these properties are not in danger of delinquency following Ralph Lauren’s announcement.

“We don't believe there is a large risk in loans backed by properties where Ralph Lauren is a tenant because only a few of the leases are expiring in the next two years, and 24 of the 30 CMBS loans aren't maturing before 2020,” Morningstar Credit Ratings analyst Sarah Helwig tells Bisnow


For the most part, these loans remain healthy, offsetting any possible risk. Ralph Lauren’s retail space accounts for 20% of the GLA in two loans, and were the retailer to vacate any of the 30 locations, six of the landlords would still have occupancy rates of 80%.

All in all, the company’s plans to restructure won’t hurt borrowers that relied on the luxury brand as a tenant, especially since only six of the 30 loans will mature in 2017.

Our biggest concern would be properties located in secondary and tertiary markets, as our equity analysts believe Ralph Lauren's strategy is to focus on image and destination in premiere locations,” Sarah says.  

Morningstar analysts gave the company a $150 value estimate for its common stock, and said as the iconic American retailer focuses on its core Polo and Ralph Lauren brands, it will be to its benefit going forward.

Ralph Lauren’s shares closed Wednesday up $1.24 or 1.26% to $100.04 on the New York Stock Exchange.