September Can't Come Soon Enough for Coach, Inc.


Say it with me, fellow Coach shareholders: Are we there yet?

It seems safe to bet I'm not the only investor who can't wait to see what September holds for the luxury goods specialist. Specifically, that's when Coach plans to launch the very first collection from its new executive creative director, Stuart Vevers.

But first some background...
So why is Vevers' debut collection so important?

First, remember late last year that Vevers replaced Reed Krakoff, who decided to purchase his namesake brand from Coach after serving as the company's creative director for the past 16 years.

And it's been a bumpy ride for investors since last July, when it became apparent that Coach's core North American revenue had taken a turn for the worse as comps fell 1.7%, resulting in overall sales growth of "just" 6% from the same year-ago period.

Coach's situation only worsened in October, when quarterly sales actually fell by 1% to $1.15 billion -- a performance partly attributed to the negative effects of foreign exchange rates, but primarily driven by comps in North America, which fell a startling 6.8%.

Then everything came to a head last week, when Coach stock crumbled to within reach of a fresh 52-week low after overall sales fell 6% year over year, led by a harrowing 13.6% same-store sales drop in -- you guessed it -- North America.

It wasn't all bad
However, that's not to say there weren't bright spots for Coach last quarter.

Sales of men's apparel, for one, rose around 20% over last year and remain on target to reach $700 million in fiscal 2014. Over the next three years, Coach is looking to grow men's sales by another 42% to $1 billion.

Better yet, Coach's China revenue jumped 25% last quarter on double-digit comparable-store sales growth, and remain on track to reach $530 million this year. Considering that represents less than 11% of Coach's expected revenue in fiscal 2014, it portends great things for the company in the nation of more than 1.3 billion people.

The competition isn't letting up
All the while, Coach competitor Michael Kors has posted one stellar quarter after another, most recently recording 38.9% quarterly top-line growth on a comparable-store sales increase of 22.9%. If that wasn't enough, Michael Kors' results also included 31% sales growth in North America on a 21% improvement in comps.

Then again, Michael Kors is also building on a significantly smaller base, and its comps appear to be slowing based on the company's current outlook for 15% to 20% growth. What's more, trading at 33 times last year's earnings and 23.5 times next year's estimates, shares of Michael Kors reflect this optimism.

The light at the end of the tunnel
That's still not overly expensive given Michael Kors' impressive numbers. Keep in mind, however, that Coach stock not only trades around 14.3 times trailing and forward earnings, but also offers investors a 2.8% dividend for their patience.

And that brings me back to Vevers' inaugural effort, which could provide a much-needed boost to make Coach's iconic brand more appealing in the face of fresh, up-and-coming competitors.

If you simply can't wait to see what's in store, you're in luck; fashion industry pundits will get an early look at what's to come when Coach presents the new collection during New York Fashion Week early next month. If Vevers' creativity delivers, Coach stock could prove an absolute bargain today.

Coach isn't the only solid dividend payer
I plan on holding my shares of Coach for years to come, but that doesn't mean it's the only great dividend stock out there.

In fact, one of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks as a group handily outperform their non-dividend-paying brethren. The reasons for this are too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that it's true. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks in particular are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

The article September Can't Come Soon Enough for Coach, Inc. originally appeared on

Steve Symington owns shares of Coach. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Coach. It also recommends Michael Kors Holdings. 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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Originally published