FINANCE

Coach 4Q Profit Up

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Coach Inc. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit rose 32 % to $213.5 million, from $160.6 million in the year ago period.

Revenue rose 20% to $781.5 million from $652.1 million last year.

Same-store sales for the quarter ended June 28 rose 6.7% in North America. The company said volume at new stores surpassed expectations in both existing and new markets.

For the full year, net income rose 18% to $783.1 million from $663.7 million last year. Revenue rose 22% to $3.18 billion from $2.61 billion.

In a statement, Lew Frankfort, company chairman and chief executive, said the results show Coach’s “ability to generate profitable growth in challenging times.”

He said he expects the ongoing economic slowdown to continue into 2009.

“While our new fiscal year has just begun, we believe that the consumer malaise in the U.S. will remain well into calendar 2009, significantly impacting our business,” he said.

“Accordingly, we will plan cautiously until we see concrete evidence of a change in consumer behavior. At the same time, we expect to generate profitable growth, although at a lower rate while we are more promotional and price select new products more sharply to deliver more compelling value.”

Frankfort said fiscal 2009 will be an “investment year,” as it focuses on expanding in Greater China. The company said sales growth in 2009 will be driven by distribution through new and expanded stores and higher productivity.

Coach expects to open about 40 North American retail stores, at least six U.S. factory outlets, 10 to 15 locations in Japan, as well as 30 international locations, including at least 5 in greater China. The company expects to open about 50 locations in China in the next 5 years.

In other news, the company reportedly is looking into a more upscale freestanding retail concept that it would launch in 2010.

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Best Buy to expand instrument offerings

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy confirmed reports that it will begin offering musical instruments and musical recording equipment at an additional 75-85 Best Buy stores across the U.S. and online at www.BestBuy.com. The diverse musical instrument and recording line-up will include more than 1,000 guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and recording equipment, as well as other musical instruments and accessories, all available at entry level and professional price points.

The introduction of musical instruments is a natural progression for Best Buy, explained Steve Hehir, senior vp of musical instruments for Best Buy. Consumers have always looked to us as a resource for music in a variety of formats. Now theyll be able to rely on us for help with musical performance and creating too. 

Seven Best Buy stores in Southern California and Minneapolis participated in a successful pilot of the musical instruments store-within-a-store concept that launched earlier this year. The program recently expanded to Chicago and Washington, bringing the current musical instrument store count to ten. The rollout to 75-85 Best Buy stores is expected to continue through late December. For consumers who are unable to visit a store location or who prefer shopping online, BestBuy.com will offer an expanded musical instrument assortment beginning Aug. 1.

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Report: Court reverses ruling on Whole Foods, Wild Oats deal

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON According to reports, a U.S. appeals court has reversed a lower court decision last year that enabled Whole Foods Market to buy Wild Oats Markets, despite the objections of the Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reportedly said that U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wrongfully turned down the FTC’s request for an injunction to block the deal, saying he “underestimated the FTC’s likelihood of success on the merits.”

Judge Friedman had denied the FTC’s request on the grounds that it did not prove that the merger between the two companies would hurt competition.

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