It's Crunch Time for This Fashion Retailer

Fashion is a fickle beast; what's hot one day can be cold the next. Coach (NYSE: COH  ) is a great example of a fashion brand with a great history behind it whose stock has almost fallen off the face of the earth. And from the looks of it today, the company is facing perhaps its greatest challenge ever as it tries to get its ship steered back in the right direction.

It's not good
For its most recent quarter, Coach didn't have a whole heck of a lot of good things to report. Margins were down across the board and probably the most glaring problem was the 21% plummet in North American comps. There's no way to sugarcoat this; it's bad. Just look at how the last three years have played out on the stock:

Source: S&P Capital IQ McGraw Hill Financial.

A ray of light?
There may actually be a light at the end of this tunnel for investors. And I'm not referring to the company's international success, either. I mean it's great that sales in China and Japan are going like gangbusters, but that's not going to get it done for Coach if it's going to grow from here. No, it needs a straight-up domestic turnaround to light a fire under the stock price, and new designer Stuart Vevers may just be it.

It's crunch time
Investors in Coach should expect more of the same when the company announces results next quarter. Perhaps we'll see some stanching of the North American bleeding. But September is the month investors are going to want to mark on their calendar. That's when Vevers releases his first official line with Coach.

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the company's future is at stake here. Coach recently made its first appearance ever at New York Fashion Week, and if the positive reactions there are any indicator, this could certainly be a big turning point for the company in the fall.

The Foolish bottom line
Coach stock has gone from market darling as recently as 2012 to one of its biggest laggards in a short amount of time. And with shares swapping hands today at just 13 times earnings, it's plain to see that expectations are downright low. But like they say, it's always darkest before the dawn and there may be brighter days ahead for Coach. It's all going to come down to the Vevers factor.

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Jason Moser

Jason A. Moser is an analyst for Motley Fool One. He finds stocks that make money and tells the world about them. He's also won a Buzzy. And an Awessie.

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9/3/2015 4:01 PM
COH $29.85 Up +0.39 +1.32%
Coach CAPS Rating: ****