Coach: The Latest Luxury Takeover Target?

In Industry News, What's New by Accessories Staff

Coach's new City Totesin bright Saffiano leather from Italy.

Coach’s new City Tote in bright Saffiano leather from Italy.

New York—Could Coach be a takeover target for a luxurygoods conglomerate, such as LVMH, or a hedge fund?

That’s the rumor that DealReporter cited today, quoting two bankers who said the luxury leathergoods firm was exploring a sale, as well as a third banker who said Coach was “rumored to be exploring strategic options” but no other information was available.

The news comes about a month after Coach reported its last quarter U.S. sales had slowed. The company blamed a “muted macroeconomic environment,” while “the women’s handbag category competition intensified and promotional activity increased” particularly growing competition from Michael Kors, for instance.

Then two weeks ago, Coach said Lew Frankfort, its longtime chief executive, would step down next year and be replaced by Victor Luis, head of its international business.

A spokesperson for Coach said the company declines any comment on speculation or rumors. But Coach’s shares were up some 5% in early trading today following the DealReporter article.

Key Executive Appointments Announced

Meanwhile, Coach today announced several executive appointments “focused on elevating store environments globally.”

Zach Augustine will become EVP, Global Environments, effective March 11, reporting to Reed Krakoff, president/executive creative director. Augustine will lead initiatives across visual merchandising, architecture and creative development partnering with the other leaders to create a consistent and cohesive brand story.

Previously, he was global creative director–direct-to-consumer experience at Nike. Prior to Nike, he was co-founder of Winston, a consulting firm that worked with clients on projects ranging from brand identity design to retail and showroom design, development and production.

Additionally, Erin Thompson will join Coach this spring as vice president, Artistic Director, Global Environments. In this role, Thompson will oversee all creative development for windows, in-store, showrooms and events, reporting to Augustine. Thompson comes to Coach from Selfridges & Co., London, where she most recently held the position of head of visual, having initially joined the company in 2002. Prior to Selfridges, Thompson spent 12 years at Mulberry in progressively senior visual merchandising roles.

“Both Zach and Erin have extensive and successful track records of creating impactful consumer experiences that will be instrumental in bringing our stores to the next level,” Krakoff said.

In other appointments, Sandra Hill recently joined as EVP Women’s Design with responsibility over all women’s product. Hill was credited with building out the women’s business at Paul Smith Ltd., in London where she held increasingly more senior creative positions leading to her elevation to creative/design director womenswear in 2007, departing in 2011. During her 16-year tenure, she partnered with Paul Smith and was responsible for leading the vision for women’s across all categories including ready-to-wear and accessories.