You'd think nobody was ever going to buy a Coach
Coach's fourth-quarter net income increased 7.4% to $172.5 million, or $0.51 per share, excluding one-time favorable tax items that added $0.12 per share to its earnings. The earnings were in line with analyst expectations.
Sales increased 20% to $782 million; if you take out positive effects from currency translation from overseas sales, sales increased by 16%.
However, Coach commented on the difficult consumer environment, stating that it believes "the consumer malaise in the U.S. will remain well into calendar 2009, significantly impacting our business."
Coach gave guidance for fiscal 2009, saying it expects profitable but lower growth and adding that it plans to tinker with pricing in order to deliver "compelling value" to its customers. I'd say that's wise. I recently commented on the theory that the luxury-goods market may languish for a while, as many consumers may not be able to afford the kind of consumption they participated in during the boom times. And my guess is that many U.S. consumers are looking for quality and value when they're deciding what to buy.
Many consumer-related companies with the reputation for pricey, high-end wares have faltered recently. Everybody from Starbucks
Coach's fiscal 2009 guidance consists of at least 13% revenue growth and a 10% increase in earnings. Of course, given that cautious outlook, the fact that Coach is trading at 12 times forward earnings may seem a wee bit too pricey to some investors. Then again, I glanced at average price-to-earnings ratio data for Coach and found that the last time Coach was trading at such a low multiple was in 2001, when its average P/E was 19.
Even with U.S. consumers slowing down their purchases, Coach's brand isn't "busted" for the long term. Many faddish high-end brands may come and go, but Coach is here to stay. Plus, Coach has international exposure, including exposure in China, which has helped many companies offset weakness in the U.S.
Discriminating investors can do very well by looking for good companies with beaten-up stocks during bearish times, and Coach strikes me as a prime example.
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