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Coach Q4 earnings jump 34% on strong sales

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Coach reported a 34% increase in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, as the company continued to experience sales pick up in North America and China.

Net income for the quarter, which ended July 3, rose to $195.5 million, from $145.8 million a year earlier. Sales rose 22% to $950.5 million. Without the extra week in the quarter, Coach said sales would have been up 13%. Analysts had estimated sales for the company of $889.2 million.

North American same-store sales rose 6.3%.

“I’m very pleased with our fiscal fourth quarter and full-year results,” said chairman and CEO Lew Frankfort. “Our results reflect the growing recognition of the Coach brand globally, and consumers’ strong response to our product offering. It was also a year of many milestones, including the first full year of direct operation of our stores in China — where sales at retail doubled — the opening of our first stand-alone Men’s stores, and our expansion into Western Europe, as we laid the groundwork for strong top and bottom line results in the years ahead.”

Coach continues to push international expansion, especially in China Currently, the company has 41 locations in China.

“Clearly, China is our biggest opportunity, as our brand takes hold and the market continues to develop rapidly,” Frankfort said. “We’ve started developing a multichannel distribution model in China, including retail stores, shop-in-shops and flagships and expect to accelerate new store openings, with about 30 new locations planned this year. During this fiscal year, we’ll begin to open stores in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain, starting with first locations in Spain and Portugal this fall, in El Corte Ingles, as part of our joint venture with Hackett Limited.”

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No good deed goes unpunished

BY CSA STAFF

Target received the ire of several gay rights activists last week after it made a $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a non-partisan organization that claims to support candidates it believes will stimulate job and economic growth in Minnesota.

The controversy surrounding Target’s support of MN Forward is based on the group’s endorsement republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who is against gay marriage and defined marriage on his website as a “union between one man and one woman.” Emmer has also drawn criticism for his support of the Christian rock band You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, which is known to have expressed anti-gay sentiments.

MN Forward, according to reports, said it selected Emmer to support because his position on job growth and Minnesota’s economy were in line with its mission.

Though Target may have donated to MN Forward because of its economic position, that didn’t stop GLBT rights groups and their supporters from expressing their displeasure with the company through such actions as boycotting. In response, Target CEO, Gregg Steinhafel issued a statement on the company’s investor relations website, saying that its support of MN Forward did not change its support of GLBT rights.

 

“As you know, Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth.  MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate,” said Steinhafel. “However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda.”

Steinhafel added that Target was still unwavering in its support of the GLBT community and noted that it had earned a rating o 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

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Ashley Furniture engages customers with social networking

BY CSA STAFF

ARCADIA, Wis. Ashley Furniture HomeStore announced that it has launched pages on Facebook and Twitter to better connect with its customers online.

Customers are able to follow Ashley on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AshleyHomeStore), while the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AshleyFurnitureHomeStore) allows visitors to browse the hottest styles in furniture and stay updated on the company’s latest promotions, exclusive offers, community events, news, store locations, charities and more, the company reported.

 

As part of the launch, Ashley said it will also be reaching out to the online community in an effort to raise much-needed funds for the City of Hope, a cutting-edge research and treatment facility for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

 

“Ashley Furniture Industries has raised over $4 million for this wonderful non-profit facility. But there’s much more research needed,” says Ben Thorud, SVP. “So we’ll be asking our Facebook community to get involved. For every “Like” we receive in the first two months after the launch of our fan page, we’ll donate $0.25 to the City of Hope, up to $10,000.”

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