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 35 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 is buying luxury shoe maker Stuart Weitzman Holdings.
The company operates through five operating segments aggregated into two reportable segments: North America and International.
Within the North America segment, which represents 65% of its revenue, Coach 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 the Internet, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Korea. Wholesale customers and distributors in approximately 35 countries also contribute to the segment's sales.
Coach operates some 330 retail stores and about 200 factory stores in the US; some 30 retail stores and eight factory stores in Canada; about 200 department store shop-in-shops, retail stores, and factory stores in Japan; and nearly 220 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 35 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 some 60% of its revenue from the US while Japan accounts for about 15%.
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 24 million active households in North America and 10 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 growing expenses totaled $130 million in 2014, up from $103 million in 2013 and $89 million in 2012.
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.
Coach has seen growing revenues over recent years until fiscal 2014 (ends June), when sales fell 5% to $4.8 billion. An 11% decline in North American sales as a result of of lower comparable store sales (led by lower traffic) and lower wholesale shipments drove the revenue drop. During 2013 Coach opened 14 outlet stores but closed a net 19 retail locations in North America. The company also restructured the way it markets online, which also had a negative impact on sales.
Those declines were partially offset by rising international sales: Coach saw double-digit growth in China and Asia (excluding Japan) thanks to positive comparable store sales and the opening of new locations. During 2013 it opened 42 net new stores in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan. In addition to the Asia/Pacific region, the company has its sights set on growth in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. In fiscal 2014, Coach acquired full control of a European joint venture with Pepe Jeans subsidiary Hackett, adding 18 stores to its direct control.
Net income fell 25% to $781.3 million in fiscal 2014 (versus more than $1 billion in 2013) as result of the decline in revenues. A negative foreign currency climate, primarily associated with the Yen, also led to lower profits, as did a $131.5 million expense related to Coach's newly launched multi-year transformation restructuring plan. That plan will encompass closing underperforming stores, improving other locations, and an added emphasis on marketing.
After peaking at $1.4 billion in 2013, cash flow from operations decreased 30% to $985 million. Lower net income, as well as increasing inventory investments, drove the decline.
Having reorganized its business in fiscal 2013 around its geographic focus, Coach is working to sustain growth within its global business. To this end, the leather products company boasts three key growth strategies: transformation to a lifestyle brand, increased global distribution, and improved store sales productivity. Still, growth is proving hard to come by. In mid-2014 Coach warned of lower sales next year and said it will close about 70 stores in North America in 2015. The company is facing increased competition from fast-growing rivals, such as kate spade and Michael Kors.
It's expanding globally by entering into joint ventures and distributor relationships to build its market presence and capability. It gains greater control over its brand, aggressively grows market share, and accelerates its brand awareness by later acquiring its partners' interest. For example, in mid-2013, the company purchased Hackett Limited’s 50% interest in a joint venture aimed at expanding the Coach business in Europe. Coach also purchased the domestic retail businesses from its distributors in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Korea.
Coach has been banking on its upscale clientele in the US, Japan, and elsewhere to invest in its products. The company's looking to boost its global distribution efforts, mostly in North America, China, and Europe, while also improving store sales. It's also implementing several initiatives, prudently expanding its retail presence in North America in an effort to generate higher sales revenue. The company has been scaling back its once-aggressive expansion by halving its new US store openings. Coach believes that ultimately there is a market to support up to 500 Coach stores in the US and 30 in Canada.
It's focusing on a Men's initiative in North America and Asia to attract more males by opening new full-price and factory locations with in-shop stores and by broadening its product assortment to include more men's items. Coach's partnership with retail real estate company Simon Property Group has allowed Coach to get its foot in the door at some swanky digs where upscale customers spend more freely. The leather-goods maker has a presence in Simon's Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Roosevelt Field on Long Island. These two properties represent some of Coach's highest-volume retail operations. It's working with Simon Property Group and retail regional mall developer General Growth Properties to add new Coach retail shops and expand existing ones.
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. To boost its efforts to become a lifestyle brand, Coach in early 2015 said it would buy women's luxury shoemaker Stuart Weitzman Holdings for up to $574 million. The shoe company has annual revenue of about $300 million.