The Coach CEO today announced that third quarter sales had risen 19%, to $744.5 million, and profits rose 8% to $162.4 million, despite an economic slowdown in the North American market that has shaken the retail industry, and been the scape goat for much recent poor financial performance.
"We were pleased with our performance, especially in light of the worsening retail climate in the U.S.," Frankfort said, in a conference call with analysts this morning. "Overall, Coach's quarterly performance reflected the strength of the Coach franchise and the continued out-performance of the U.S. handbag and accessory category as compared to overall retail sales."
And while the macroeconomic landscape is still too murky for Mr. Frankfort to crystal ball fiscal 2008 performance, he did reveal that he expects to post $3.18 billion in sales for fiscal 2007 (which closes in June—you know, screwy fashion financial calendar), a more than 20% increase that will lift earnings per share to an estimated $2.06.
But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Frankfort also said that the strong quarter reflects also "the critical balance provided by our multi-channel and international business model," which, of course, means that overseas sales were a significant factor, particularly in the Asian market. More telling on the domestic front was the department store weakness, where sales grew only 5% for Coach, versus a total revenue increase of 15% across all channels.
Frankfort attributed the growth, first and foremost, to the company's product, bound together with the "brand proposition" of Coach (read: something of perceived quality, for a range of price points), as well as the company's "broad and loyal consumer franchise." OK, whatevs Lew, basically you owe the success to having products people want at prices they can still afford, or think they can, for now.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see how this whole recession thing shakes out, but if we had to call it earlier, we'd say that Coach looks to be one of the brands that will weather the storm, and perhaps even make a little bit of money in the process.
There's also some speculation, per WWD, that Frankfort might be getting ready to launch into the women's ready-to-wear business, big time, after poaching a series of designers from the house o' Marc Jacobs. Stay tuned.