Take Comfort in This Stock

Coach (NYSE: COH  ) doled out reassurance with its quarterly earnings results, even though Japan's recent tragic disaster has taken an unsurprising toll on its business.

Third-quarter net income increased 18%, to $186 million, or $0.62 per share. Coach's revenue increased a healthy 14%, to $951 million, with robust 10% comparable-store sales growth in North America contributing to the top line. That's a big win for Coach, since sluggish U.S. sales have recently weighed down many companies.

International exposure can be a mixed blessing, as Coach's results reveal. Japan may be far from Coach's headquarters, but the country's tragic earthquake and tsunami battered its business there. The disaster's effects docked Coach's sales by about $20 million and trimmed earnings by about two and a half cents. In the fourth quarter, Coach expects a similar hit to sales and a $0.02-to-$0.03-per-share earnings impact.

Coach isn't the only company taking a hit from Japan's troubles. Another high-end American brand, Tiffany (NYSE: TIF  ) , said it couldn't meaningfully predict how difficulties in Japan might affect its results when it reported its latest quarter in March. However, to Coach's considerable credit, it has proven it can deliver a decent quarter, despite what seemed like a serious threat to its business.

The effects of the Japanese crisis and its aftermath aren't limited to luxury goods. Other companies that have recently indicated negative impacts include Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI  ) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) , and of course, Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) , to name just a few.

Times have been tough all over, but Coach's revelation that it's raising its dividend by 50% to an annual $0.90 per share should provide extra comfort to its long-term shareholders, even beyond its solid financial results.

Many luxury goods purveyors seem like risky stock ideas in our uncertain economy, beset both by unexpected calamities like Japan's disaster and the more predictable threat of rising commodity prices. However, Coach's consistent business and exemplary management make it one of the best consumer-facing stocks on the market.

This high-quality company is the exception to its industry's rule, repeatedly proving that it can evolve with changing times. Now, Coach is once again demonstrating that it's got this unstable market all sewn up.

Coach is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Wal-Mart is a Motley Fool Global Gains choice. Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Income Investor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Wal-Mart. The Fool owns shares of Coach, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. For more on this and other topics, check back at Fool.com, or follow her on Twitter: @AlyceLomax. 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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