Coach Stock Goes Where Michael Kors Dares Not


Investors in luxury handbag makers have contrasting the stellar growth at Michael Kors to the more pedestrian revenue expansion at larger rival Coach , but let's not write off Coach stock just yet.

Coach moved to boost its quarterly dividend last week, increasing its quarterly rate 12.5% to $0.3375 a share.

Investors weren't surprised. Coach has come through springtime increases to its distributions every year since initiating its payout policy four years ago.

Will smaller yet faster-growing rival Kors match the move? No. It can't. Kors doesn't pay a dividend. It doesn't plan on doing so anytime soon, either.

"We currently expect to retain all our future earnings for use in the operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future," Kors explained in its offering prospectus when it went public less than two years ago.

Kors bulls will argue that it doesn't need to. This is the speedster in the luxury goods space.

Kors reports next week as it wraps up fiscal 2013, but its previous quarter was a blowout with revenue soaring 70% on a 41% spike in same-store sales.

Looking out to the new fiscal year that began last month, analysts see Kors growing revenue and earnings 33% and 31%, respectively. Stack that up to Coach where Wall Street's settled for a 7% uptick in revenue this fiscal year ending in June, accelerating to an 8% advance next year.

There's naturally a price to pay for that growth. Kors fetches 25 times fiscal 2014's earnings. Coach is trading at just 14 times forward earnings.

Let's also not forget the dividend disparity, as Coach stock rewards shareholders for their patience with a reasonable yield of 2.3%.

If you're investing for growth you'll pay a premium for it -- and don't wait up for quarterly dividend checks.

It's the same scene in the upscale jewelry space. Online speedster Blue Nile is growing twice as quickly as old-guard standout Tiffany , and the earnings multiples reflect the octane. Tiffany trades at a high 20 times next year's projected profit, but Blue Nile is being exchanged at a stratospheric multiple of 31 times next year's earnings.

It's a similar story on the payout front. Tiffany also boosted its quarterly dividend rate last week. The 1.6% yield may not turn heads the way that bling in a signature Tiffany box does, but it's a welcome treat that the yield-less Blue Nile doesn't share with its stakeholders.

As long as they're not fading in popularity -- and that's something that can't be emphasized enough in the world of fickle fashion -- older luxury goods specialists shouldn't be ignored by investors.

Coach stock is historically cheap at a time when its healthy yield has never been higher.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Blue Nile. It recommends and owns shares of Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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