NEW YORK — Coach, the $1.3 billion accessories company, is aggressively expanding its presence in Japan.

This story first appeared in the July 1, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Coach Japan Inc. will open three flagships in the next six months in Sapporo, Osaka and Sendai. Within the last three years, the brand has opened three shops in Tokyo’s Marunouchi, Ginza and Shibuya areas.

Sapporo’s 5,300-square-foot shop, which will open its doors in late August, will be next to the main entrance of the upscale shopping mall Pivot. The Osaka unit will bow in November with a giant 6,600-square-foot store located in the city’s Umeda district. It will be part of the new Herbis ENT shopping and entertainment complex. In December, the 6,400-square-foot Sendai shop will open on Ichibancho-Dori, the highest trafficked commercial area in Sendai.

All three boutiques will be two stories and have elements such as a limestone facade, white travertine marble flooring and bleached walnut cabinetry that are present in the company’s other Japanese outlets.

Coach is the fastest-growing imported accessories and handbag brand in Japan, according to Ian Bickley, president of Coach Japan, and its success led the firm to accelerate its flagship openings. As far as market share, Coach is number two behind Louis Vuitton, according to the company.

Lew Frankfort, Coach’s chairman and chief executive officer, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, but said in a statement that he expects combined annual sales of the three new units to exceed $20 million.

Overall, Coach’s sales for the fiscal year ending July 3 are expected to be more than $1.3 billion, and to jump 19 percent to $1.55 billion for 2005.