These 3 Stocks Are More Than Just a Fashion Statement

It's no secret that many girls, and some guys, love shoes and purses. Unfortunately, this often leaves our bank accounts looking a little rough for wear, and us feeling guilty about the newest addition to our closet. Fortunately, there is a way to relieve that shopping guilt -- all that shopping adds up to some pretty solid companies to invest in. So let me tell you about three stocks that could make that next shopping trip a little less guilt-inducing.

This Coach (NYSE: COH  ) carries lipstick, not people
Although it competes with brands like Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL  ) , AnnTaylor Stores (NYSE: ANN  ) , and Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ  ) , Coach is the leader in American luxury handbags and accessories, and it's not difficult to see why. With its handbags ranging from $158 into the thousands, Coach is affordable to many consumers, but it still maintains a higher status than most competitors. This combination of status symbol and affordability has resulted in Coach's significant growth in sales. Just check out the chart below:

Coach

Net Sales (in millions)

Sales Growth

2010

$3,607

11.7%

2009

$3,230

1.6%

2008

$3,180

21.8%

Stripes never looked so good
U.K.-based Burberry Group (OTC: BURBY.PK) was originally known for its iconic trench coats, created in the early 20th century. But since then, Burberry has branched out into clothing, handbags, shoes, and fragrances, and shoppers are lining up for a piece of this plaid pie. A Burberry handbag will set you back at least $400, so it's not as readily affordable as Coach, but it gives Burberry higher status, and one that many consumers can't wait to get their hands on. Burberry's sales growth in 2009, when the economy bottomed out and the majority of companies saw losses in sales, proves this:

Burberry

Net Sales ($M)

Sales Growth

2010

$1,942

6.5%

2009

$1,725

20.7%

2008

$1,978

17.1%

Note: Growth rates may differ due to changes in foreign exchange.

You've just gotta LV Louis
One of the ultimate luxury brands, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTC: LVMUY.PK), is more than just designer clothing and accessories. From cosmetics to furniture to wine, this company is all luxury, all the time, and this leads to phenomenal sales. Although Louis Vuitton wasn't able to completely escape the 2009 economic downturn, it did manage to weather the storm without much damage. Then, in 2010, it came back swinging: Check out the sales growth from 2009 to 2010: 

Louis Vuitton

Net Sales (in millions)

Sales Growth

2010

$27,247

19.2%

2009

$24,440

(0.8%)

2008

$24,024

4.3%

Note: Growth rates may differ due to changes in foreign exchange.

A Fool and her purse are never parted
Yes, that next trip to the mall might put a dent in your wallet, and if you buy a Louis Vuitton purse, it's going to put a BIG dent in your wallet, but with these stocks sitting in your portfolio, you can think of it as money that's coming back to you in the form of sales growth.

What do you think? Do Coach, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton make good investments? Click on their links to rate them in CAPS and see how they do!

Fool contributor Katie Spence LOVES shoes, purses, and shopping, much to the dismay of her husband. She does not own shares of any company named above.

Coach is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. The Fool 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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