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Coach has a problem. After years of strong and steady growth under the direction of President and Executive Creative Director Reed Krakoff Coach is facing stiff competition in the affordable luxury market, a segment of the market it helped to define. Last week Coach reported a 2% drop in N.A. same store sales following weaker than expected demand over the 2012 holiday shopping period. But, according to CEO Lew Frankfort, Coach has a solution – Apparel. Last week Frankfort told analysts that Coach is moving forward with a plan to become a “head-to-toe… global lifestyle brand, anchored in accessories” in order to expand its customer base and improve profits.

WWD reports that consumer have seen an early iteration of the lifestyle push in the brand’s Legacy collection, a vibrant, dual-gender footwear, accessories and apparel line that hit stores last summer. That higher-priced collection not only sparked the transformation of the brand’s advertising and in-store merchandising, but also provide consumers with a new lens though which to view the New York-based heritage leather bag maker.

This is good news for guys who fans of the 72-year old brand. While Coach’s men’s business is only a small fraction of overall sales it is one of the company’s fastest growing businesses. Frankfort told analysts that “another opportunity to improve comp performance is clearly taking advantage of the digital space and the men’s opportunity which continue to be very, very strong for us.” The company expects to see a 50% increase in menswear sales for the full fiscal year.

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