Coach posts higher profit

22/04/2008 - 19:05

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Handbag maker Coach Inc posted a higher quarterly profit on Tuesday that topped Wall Street's estimate by a penny, helped by higher sales at stores in North America and Japan.

Coach said net income in its third quarter ended March 29 rose 8 percent to $162.4 million, or 46 cents per share, from $150.0 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts on average were expecting 45 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net sales for the quarter rose to $744.5 million from $625.3 million a year ago, as sales at North American stores open at least a year climbed 9 percent.

Sales from stores in Japan rose 12 percent, excluding the impact of the strong yen, which boosts the value of international sales when converted into dollars.

Froms now on, Coach said it will only report same-store sales results for its full-priced and factory stores taken together.

The company said it still expects earnings of $2.06 per share in 2008 but raised its sales target, after already lowering it once this year due to the weak retail climate.

Coach said it now expects 2008 sales of about $3.18 billion. In January, it forecast sales of "at least $3.15 billion," which compared to an earlier forecast for sales of $3.17 billion.

The full-year forecast implies fourth-quarter earnings of 50 cents per share on sales of about $780 million, the company said. That compares to analysts' average expectation for a profit of 49 cents per share, excluding items, on sales of $759.8 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

"Due to the continued uncertainty in the economic backdrop, we believe that it's prudent to wait until our fourth-quarter report to offer guidance for the upcoming fiscal year," Chief Executive Lew Frankfort said in a statement.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Mark Porter and Steve Orlofsky)

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