At the beginning of 2013, Coach, the leather goods maker, was on the verge of a crisis. Revenues fell by almost $1 billion annually over the next two years as consumers turned away from the brand’s heavily discounted, logo-larded handbags. Coach had to change direction, and fast.
Victor Luis, a longtime Coach executive who took over as CEO in January 2014, is doing just that. He is returning the 75-year-old company to its luxury roots and expanding its offerings with ready-to-wear, handbags and accessories. The logos are gone; so, too, are the major discounts. Coach closed 100 stores across the country to concentrate resources on top locations, and in September, the brand participated in its first New York Fashion Week. Coach’s sales have stopped shrinking for the first time since 2013, and the company beat earnings projections for its fourth quarter ending in August this year.
“For us it was really about courage and a belief that Coach could be a broader lifestyle brand,” Luis says. “We could come out with a collection that was authentic to the Coach brand DNA, that offered the consumer an American view of luxury.”