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Coach Stays Neutral

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We reaffirm our long-term Neutral recommendation on Coach, Inc. with a target price of $53.00 following the company’s soft second-quarter fiscal 2013 results that were offset by the company’s growth initiatives. The stock also retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Why Reiterate?

Tough macroeconomic conditions and intense promotional strategies undertaken by competitors in the women’s handbag category muted Coach’s performance in North America that resulted in lower-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2013 results. The quarterly earnings of $1.23 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.29 but rose from $1.18 in the prior-year quarter.

Net sales of $1,503.8 million also came below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,605 million but rose 4% year over year. International segment remained robust in the quarter with sales rising by 12%. China business sustained its strong performance as sales soared about 40% with a double-digit rate increase in comparable-store sales.

The rise in total sales was a positive indication for the luxury-goods market, battered by the recent economic upheaval. Coach’s sustained focus on store sales productivity, merchandising, and marketing and strategic pricing helped it remain afloat in a difficult consumer environment.

The company remains optimistic about its dual-gender Legacy lifestyle collection, dedicated men's stores and international growth opportunities to counter the soft consumer scenario. The company is also aggressively expanding its e-Commerce platform. Management expects to attain more than $600 million in sales worldwide from its Men’s business and at least $400 million in sales in China in fiscal 2013.

Store expansion strategy remains on the cards for Coach. In North America, Coach plans to open 25 net new stores. On the international front, it plans to add 30 new outlets in China and 10 net new stores in Japan. The company through distributor partners plans to augment business opportunities in Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Chile, Peru and Kuwait. In Europe, the company expects to enhance its operations.

The company’s long-term growth drivers also include expansion of its global distribution model and venturing into under-penetrated markets. Moreover, a healthy balance sheet augurs well for future growth. However, we remain concerned about erratic consumer behavior and soft economic recovery.

Other Stocks Worth Considering

Other stocks worth considering in the textile, apparel industry are G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (GIII - Free Report) , Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI - Free Report) and Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL - Free Report) , all of which hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The stocks are expected to continue with their upbeat performances and sustain their positive earnings surprise trend.

In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above

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Hanesbrands Inc. (HBI) - free report >>

G-III Apparel Group, LTD. (GIII) - free report >>

Gildan Activewear, Inc. (GIL) - free report >>

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