Coach is riding in style, thanks to the company's leather items and some savvy licensing deals. The company designs and makes (mostly through third parties) high-end leather goods and accessories, including handbags, wallets, and luggage. Founded in 1941, Coach also licenses its name for watches, eyewear, fragrances, scarves, and footwear. The luxury brand sells its wares through more than 1,000 department and outlet stores (in the US and more than 45 other countries), catalogs, and its website. Macy's, Nordstrom, Saks, and others carry Coach items. It also runs more than 1,000 retail and factory outlet stores in North America, Japan, and China. The company acquired luxury shoe maker Stuart Weitzman Holdings in 2015.
The company operates three segments: North America, International, and Stuart Weitzman.
The North America segment, which represents over 50% of company revenue, includes sales to North American consumers through its retail stores, factory stores, Internet, and wholesale.
Its International segment, which consists primarily of sales to consumers through company-operated stores in Japan and mainland China, also accounts for revenue from Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Korea, and e-commerce sales to those territories. Wholesale customers and distributors in approximately 35 countries also contribute to the segment's sales. The segment represents about 40% of sales.
The Stuart Weitzman segment consists of global sales of the Stuart Weitzman brand, acquired in 2015, and represents the remaining revenue.
Coach operates some 250 retail stores and about 195 factory stores in the US; some 40 retail stores and 11 factory stores in Canada; about 195 department store shop-in-shops, retail stores, and factory stores in Japan; and nearly 185 department store shop-in-shops, retail stores, and factory stores in Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Korea. It also sells to wholesale customers and distributors in some 45 countries.
Coach also operates distribution, product development, and quality control locations in the US, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, and India. The handbag maker generates over half its revenue from the US, while China and Japan account for about 15% and 12%.
Sales and Marketing
The company's creative marketing, visual merchandising, and public relations teams maintain the Coach New York-style image. Coach leverages its consumer and market research capabilities to assess consumer attitudes and trends. As part of Coach's direct marketing strategy, it taps a growing database of some 28 million active households in North America and 11 million active households in Asia. To spur purchases and build brand awareness, the company communicates with customers through some 1.2 billion emails and millions of catalogs worldwide. It's looking to boost e-commerce sales through its digital strategy, coach.com, global e-commerce sites and programs, third-party flash sites, marketing sites, and social networking. Coach boasts 22 marketing websites in 23 countries.
Coach's advertising costs span direct marketing activities, such as direct mail pieces, media, and production costs. These expenses have increased substantially in each of the past three years. Ad costs reached $202 million in fiscal 2016, up from about $161 million in 2015 and $130 million in 2014.
The company's products are sold through more than 1,000 wholesale locations in the US and Canada. Top US wholesale customers include Macy's (including Bloomingdale's), Dillard's, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, The Bay, Bon Ton, Belk, and Von Maur.
Coach operates an 850,000 sq. ft. distribution and consumer service facility in Jacksonville, Florida, which uses a bar code scanning warehouse management system. Coach's distribution center employees use handheld radio frequency scanners to read product bar codes. This allows them to more accurately process and pack orders, track shipments, and manage inventory. Coach's products are primarily shipped to Coach retail stores and wholesale customers via express delivery providers and common carriers, and direct to consumers via express delivery providers.
To support its growth in the Asia/Pacific region, Coach operates distribution centers, through third-parties, in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Taiwan.
After two difficult years, Coach has seen a return to top and bottom line growth in fiscal 2016. Net sales increased 7.2% to $4.5 billion due to the first full-year inclusion of the acquired Stuart Weitzman brand (it recorded just two months of sales in the previous fiscal year). Growth of $82 million in Coach's international business was entirely offset by declines in its North America and Other segments.
Profitability nosed up 11% to $460 million, with higher net sales countered to an extent by higher SGA costs, particularly pertaining to higher advertising spend. Cash from operating activities was 20% lower than in fiscal 2015, at $758 million.
Coach launched what it called a Transformation Plan in the latter part of its 2014 fiscal year. The plan calls for closing a number of stores, opening a number of stores pitched to the higher end, refocusing on higher end products, and scaling back its promotional activities.
The company has closed 70 of its North American stores and opened a few concept stores(12 in North America and eight overseas) in select markets. The company also is banking on growth in China. In 2015 its sales grew about 9% in China, where Coach helps meet the desire for Western designer brands. The company is also thing to take better control of its inventory. The closer its supply meets demand, the less Coach will have to offer discounts to move product.
With the purchase of Stuart Weitzman, Coach hopes to extend its brand from handbags and accessories to include footwear and ready-to-wear.
The plan includes spending $50 million on advertising to raise the consumer perception of the Coach brand.
Coach is facing increased competition from fast-growing rivals, such as Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
The leather goods maker has been looking at global markets to diversify. Coach is pushing to penetrate the European luxury goods market, helped by an exclusive arrangement with Printemps, the French department store chain, and in Spain with El Corte Inglés. It is also eyeing Germany, Italy, Brazil, and India. In Asia, Coach sees China as one of its largest opportunity and is adding new locations in the country. Its Japanese business is where the company counts on its trendy target audience. Coach anticipates an ultimate market penetration of up to 180 stores.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2017 Coach agreed to acquire luxury apparel and accessories designer Kate Spade & Co. for $2.4 billion. Upon completion, the deal would expand Coach's handbag and accessories portfolio to include a more diverse set of products and brands.
To boost its efforts to become a lifestyle brand, Coach in 2015 bought women's luxury shoemaker Stuart Weitzman Holdings for about $530 million. The shoe company had annual revenue of about $300 million.