Belfast Telegraph

Chinese trade helps handbag firm

By Laura Chesters

Demand for leather handbags in China has helped Coach off-set dwindling sales in its home market in the US.

The leather label founded in 1941 has been trying to halt falling sales caused by fears its logo-heavy products were too common.

It revealed net sales of $1.14bn (£0.7bn) for the final quarter of its financial year, down 7% on the same period last year. But this result was better than the $1.09bn (£0.6m) that Wall Street had expected and its shares lifted in New York.

Full year net sales fell 5% to $4.81bn (£2.85bn) and net profit tumbled 24% to $781m (£464m). The group instigated a new strategy in June to try to turn the brand around with the help of British designer Stuart Vevers who joined last September.

Chief executive Victor Luis said: "The fourth quarter capped a challenging year, most notably in the North America women's bag and accessory business."

North American sales fell 16% in the fourth quarter but international sales jumped 7%. Mr Luis explained the group was now "embarking on the execution phase" of its strategy and said its Chinese business reached sales of more than $500m (£297m). Its menswear business grew to more than $700m (£416m) in the year.

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