NEW YORK — Victor Luis made the case for continued growth at Tapestry Inc. during the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.
“Especially when we think about global growth,” the ceo said, which he added will be driven by comps and distribution.
“The single most important asset we have is ensuring the health of our brands from a long-term perspective,” Luis said. “That comes down to controlling distribution, controlling and managing pricing as much as possible, putting the right marketing in place and making sure we remain a culturally relevant part of the conversation, which is absolutely key when you’re in fashion.”
While Wall Street has been reluctant to get on board — Tapestry’s shares are down 17.5 percent year-to-date during a tough period for retail and fashion stocks in general — the company improved on top-line sales during its most recent quarter, sending shares surging, at least for the day.
Luis said upgrading the assortment — especially at Kate Spade under the helm of newish creative director Nicola Glass, who unveiled her inaugural collection with the brand during February’s New York Fashion Week — and expansion abroad are what’s fueling growth.
And while others are worried about headwinds like decreased consumer spending in China or the rise of the resale market, which many speculate will impact the accessible luxury market, these don’t seem to faze Luis. In fact, while retailers like Walmart and Amazon continue to gobble up market share with unbranded merchandise, Luis said fashion consumers are still willing to spend money on quality products.
“We live in the category where consumers leverage branding the most to help, if you will, create their own identity,” Luis said. “I get excited about the opportunity.
“Look at the opportunity as people come into the accessible luxury space, which, in essence, is the entry into luxury,” Luis continued. “They come and get their first experience with the branded handbag through Coach, through Kate Spade.”
And with globalization comes the opportunity to scale around the globe. Luis encouraged investors to count the number of unbranded handbags versus branded handbags next time they’re on public transportation.
“I take a 100 and I look at what’s the number of unbranded handbags and that, for me, is all opportunity as young women come into the space,” Luis said. “Of course, you have new consumers coming in, but you also think about the market and developing markets in the opportunity that we have still in China, Southeast Asia. Indonesia for me is the next big opportunity, following China. With that comes India, and of course, all of South America, and goodness if we ever get Africa growing. I get excited.”