By  on November 18, 2005

NEW YORK — Coach is about to display its growing world.

The $1.7 billion accessories brand today will unveil its redesigned and expanded flagship at 595 Madison Avenue at the corner of East 57th Street here. The store, at 10,000 square feet, is the company's largest anywhere — all the better to promote the Coach lifestyle.

"The store plays many different roles for consumers," said Lew Frankfort, Coach's chairman and chief executive officer. "It gives them the opportunity to experience the full breadth of the brand and the power of it."

Frankfort expects the two-tier boutique to generate $20 million in sales in its first year. The store's staff has been doubled to 75.

The flagship will serve as a prototype for all the company's boutiques and will be used as a laboratory to test products and new direction. It's not divided sharply by category, but instead by mode and mood, making it different than any other Coach store.

Coach has been at the location since 1994, and for the expansion, it acquired neighboring spaces, including the former Geox and Ghurka stores, which have moved nearby. It also got additional second-floor space from neighbor Prada.

Coach closed the location in January for renovations and opened a temporary store at 3 West 57th Street, which, according to Frankfort, has been extremely profitable. The decision to enlarge the store by 50 percent as opposed to moving to another location was easy to make, he said, adding the flagship will be profitable from "day one."

Coach's sales increased 29.5 percent to $1.71 billion in 2005. Last month, first-quarter results showed profits soaring 53.5 percent on a 30.5 percent sales gain.

"We [always] tell our shareholders that they will see a return from the beginning," he said, adding that every one of Coach's stores is profitable. "We have a half-million people who visit the 57th and Madison [location] each year. That's 10,000 visitors a week who spend about 15 to 20 minutes each time. The store was [successful], but often wasn't large enough to produce the high level of service to our consumers — 57th and Madison is the heart of New York City and the center of the universe."

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