NEW YORK — Coach Inc., the maker of leather handbags and accessories, Tuesday raised its quarterly earnings forecast as strong sales and higher margins helped it rise above the weak retail environment.

New York-based Coach said it now expects earnings to be at least 21 cents a diluted share and sales to increase to between $185 million and $190 million for the first quarter ending Sept. 28. This compares with prior-year earnings of 14 cents a share and sales of $150.7 million. Analysts’ consensus estimates are currently 18 cents.

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