Coach (NYSE:COH) has done it again. Its leather goods seem to have retained their upscale allure to the point of being quite possibly irresistible to some shoppers, as the company's third-quarter earnings delivered just what investors were expecting.

Third-quarter earnings increased 53% to $89.2 million, or $0.23 per diluted share. Total sales increased 33% to $416 million. The company reported margin expansion that it attributed to channel mix, product mix, and sourcing cost initiatives.

Coach increased its yearly guidance as well. For fiscal 2005, the company said it expects sales to increase 29% to exceed $1.7 billion, and earnings to increase 43% to at least $0.97 per share. Looking forward to fiscal 2006, the company anticipates sales growth of 19% to at least $2 billion, and earnings higher by 22% to at least $1.18 per share.

It's obvious the appetite for luxury goods seems to continue unabated for Coach. It was interesting to note that consumers were snapping up Coach gear right after the holidays, without the markdowns that most retailers are forced to implement that time of year. Looking at this retailer several times, our own Seth Jayson has suggested that an investment in Coach is illustrative of the power of bling-bling retail and even asked last fall whether Coach might be considered a Rule Breaker.

It's funny when you consider that a luxury-goods retailer might once have been considered a niche play, but it shares a certain degree of popularity and irresistibility that might be attributed to Chico's (NYSE:CHS) or pricey Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), both of which are good examples of retailers that have shown popularity with shoppers (and investors) recently.

And speaking of popular niches, in Coach's conference call, the company discussed a few interesting things, like its existing and planned Coach-branded cases for popular technology products like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPod or Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry, capitalizing off some major trends. Meanwhile, although the company obviously focuses on a principally female clientele, management discussed certain products (including some of the technology-related products named above) that may attract more men to its brand.

If you take a peek at Coach's chart, you'll see that it has been on an obvious tear for the past year or so. And investors have gotten used to paying what could arguably be considered a premium price for the stock. However, given the company's continued double-digit increases in sales and earnings, Coach continues to bear out the idea that sometimes you pay up for one of the best.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.