Coach results beat forecasts thanks to strength in international markets like China. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Global consumers giving Coach a little breathing room while it continues to try to regroup. Higher sales in international markets like China helped the struggling fashion brand deliver better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit. North America sales, which are still the majority of Coach's net sales, a different story - down 16 percent. Contrast that with Michael Kors where sales were up 30 percent in North America. Coach has been closing stores and spending more money on marketing and store renovations to try to win back customers, but management has warned it will be a long haul, even pushing back sales targets on its earnings conference call. While shares rose just after the earnings were released, Coach has been out of fashion on Wall Street for quite some time, the stock losing 35 percent of its value over the last year. UBS' Michael Binetti has a neutral rating on Coach and wrote this to clients: "Coach's exclusion-heavy 4Q print seems misleading for investors. In our view, F4Q results offer little change to the medium term stock thesis, which hinges on consumer response to the withdrawal of coupons and nearly completely new product in full line stores this fall. We see significant risks to Coach stock." He says a lot of questions remain for Coach, including how much unsellable inventory there is going forward, how their efforts to cut down on coupons at their outlet stores are going, and, perhaps most important, concerns about the growth rate of their China business.