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Shoppers are snapping up Coach handbags again

Shoppers are snapping up Coach handbags again

Coach’s efforts to overhaul its image are finally paying off.

The American luxury fashion company, founded in 1941, is known for its stylish handbags, ready-to-wear lines and other accessories.

But after two years of declining sales and mounting competition from the likes of Kate Spade and Michael Kors in the accessories departments, Coach’s bosses have been working hard on revamping the brand’s image. To revive demand, Coach has renovated its outlets and taken steps to refresh its designs, including hiring well-known British fashion designer Stuart Vevers.

And based on Tuesday’s (09Aug16) fourth-quarter and fiscal results, the company is finally starting to win back its customers.

For the first time in three years, North American comparable store sales (referring to stores that have been open for at least a year) were positive, seeing a modest two per cent rise. Overall net sales improved 15 per cent for the quarter and seven per cent for the year. For the Coach brand specifically, sales were up 11 per cent for the quarter, flat for the year.

In addition to the return to sales growth, Chief Executive Victor Luis said the company feels they have succeeded in elevating the brand's perception.

“We are fusing our history and heritage of quality and craftsmanship with a cool New York fashion relevance and it’s clearly resonating with customers globally,” he said in a statement. “We remain focused on amplifying our brand message globally through innovative and desirable product, a differentiated store concept, and marketing that cuts through.”

Going forward, Coach is now turning to its attention to retail strategy, and will be rolling out its 1941 bag line to all stores and moving from 12 to eight deliveries of styles per year in order to keep the most popular items on the shop floor longer. In an interesting move, Coach also plans to reduce its presence in some department stores, to cut back on discounting.

New York-based Coach this year (16) celebrates its 75th anniversary. The brand has approximately 450 Coach stores in North America, with more expected to open.

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