Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coach 1Q Profit Dips As Sales Rise; Beat Wall St. Analysts Estimates

Coach Inc.'s new pricing strategy is starting to look promising, as the luxury accessories company posted FY 1Q profits and sales that beat Wall St. estimates.

The company reported a fiscal first-quarter earnings drop of 3.4% to $141M, or  $0.44 per share, vs. $146M, or $0.44 per share in the previous year.

Sales for the quarter rose 1.2% to $761.4M from $753M in fiscal 1Q '08. 

Analysts surveyed by Thomas Reuters expected $0.39 per share, and sales of $753.8M.

Lew Frankfort, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coach, Inc., attributed the recent decision to revamp Coach's pricing strategy, and the introduction of the Poppy line, to this quarter's better-than-expected results:
“We experienced sequential improvement in our North American retail business this quarter, as the initiatives put into place earlier this year proved successful. Specifically, Coach benefited from the well received launch of the Poppy collection and other products at particularly compelling prices.”
Analysts also noted that Coach increased usage of 20% off coupons for their outlets stores, which helped to drive demand.

Direct-to-consumer sales, which include their China business, rose 10% to $654M for the quarter vs. $592M for the previous year. Total sales in Japan, Coach's second largest market, declined 3%, minus exchange rate fluctuations. Comp. sales in North American fell 1.1%, an improvement from the 6.1% decline in the previous quarter. China continued to show strength with double-digit same-store sales growth.

Indirect consumer sales, which represents 15% of Coach's business, dropped 33% to $108M as a result of reduced shipments to U.S. department stores.

As a result of the rapid growth the company is experiencing in China, Mr. Frankfort said Coach plans to open their first Mainland China flagship store in Spring 2010 in Shanghai. To help manage their growth in China, they also plan to open an Asian distribution center in Shanghai.

The company announced plans to open their first stand-alone men's store in NYC this Spring.

Despite beating analysts expectations, investors were apprehensive about the company's expansion, causing the stock to slip 2.8% during midday trading.
"Expectations for Coach have risen pretty noticeably, so anything that detracts from that basis is going to be viewed as a negative," said Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi. (SOURCE: Reuters.com)

However, analysts remain upbeat:
"They're very well positioned to have a strong holiday," Needham & Co analyst Christine Chen said. "They should be able to return back to positive same-store sales ... because the product seems to be gaining traction with consumers." (SOURCE: Reuters.com)
For the holiday season, Coach plans to implement the same marketing strategy used to introduce Poppy, concentrating more on email campaigns, online ads, fashion blogs and social networking sites, like Facebook.
The company also plans to launch several new items including new accessory groups, Waverly and Gramercy, a new tote group, Alex and new Poppy items under $100.

Coach shares were down 3.2% to close at $33.41.

Disclosure: Haute Retail holds positions in Coach, Inc.

No comments: