The prevailing macro-economic conditions had given one of the hardest blows to the luxury sector. Consumers’ tight budgets and restrictions on spending have proven to be quite disheartening for high-end retailers. Industry players are struggling to cope up with the conditions and lure in high-spending customers.
The most striking feature of the competitive environment has been innovation and promotions. A company which promotes its products well and offers the lowest price takes away maximum market share.
Among all the luxury retailers, Coach (COH) has been quite interesting to watch. It is one of those companies that managed to post remarkable quarters until it registered a lackluster third quarter sometime back. Let us check what exactly happened this time.
Efforts Fell Flat…
In spite of continuous efforts of launching new product lines and enhancing the men’s segment, Coach could not fight the effects of a tough environment. Its revenue plunged 7% to $1.1 billion. Also, it could not meet analysts’ estimates. A weak holiday season and customers’ unwillingness to spend affected Coach’s revenue from the American region.
However, strong demand in the international market, especially in China, drove revenue higher. China once again proved to be a sizzling market as customers are going gaga over the retailer’s high-end products. This led to a 25% surge in revenue from the region.
Another key driver during the quarter was the retailer’s expansionary moves. Its rapid expansion in various parts of the world, especially China and Japan, added to the top line. However, this is just the beginning. The company has yet to reap the full benefits of expansion. This can be a positive factor to watch out for in the months to come.
A look at Coach’s stock price performance against its competitors will make the picture clearer. Peers such as Michael Kors (KORS), and Tiffany (TIF) have performed better than Coach, in terms of stock price performance over the last one year.
Coach has been the worst performer for its stock price declined 38% during the period. On the other hand, Tiffany’s share price appreciated by 41% and that of Kors increased by 44%. One of the keys reasons has been an incompetent pricing of its products compared to other players.
Even Tiffany had a tough quarter, as it posted slowing sales and a lackluster holiday season. Its high-end customers preferred to stay away from the company’s stores, leading to a tepid performance.
However, other premium retailers, especially Kors, seem to be unaffected by any kind of economic problems. It has been a marvelous performer since its IPO and has managed to win customers’ hearts. Kors’ innovative designs for all kinds of accessories are a customer delight, which has been driving its revenue as well as its stock price. In fact, the company has been the hottest IPO since its inception in December 2011. An investor eying this industry can surely give it a try.
On the competitive front, Coach has been very weak. Poor economic conditions need continuous strategic initiatives, which the retailer has failed to offer. In order to survive in a budget-conscious environment, Coach needs to make a few changes in its promotions. Until then, it is better to be on the sidelines and watch the company’s reaction to the current scenario.