Coach, Burberry Join List Of Limping Brands

Coach bagAdd Coach and Burberry to the list of luxury retailers feeling the pains of the pinched upper crust. Coach, Inc. says its net income fell 14% for its second fiscal quarter to $217 million, while sales slipped 4% to $960 million.

And the company has cut its expansion plans in half, saying it will probably open 20 new stores in the year ahead, instead of the previously announced 40. In North America, comparable-store sales fell 13.2% for the quarter, and in Japan, the decline was 1%.

"The heavily promotional atmosphere against a deteriorating economic backdrop impacted both traffic and conversion rates in our retail stores and department store locations and ultimately led to weaker-than-expected sales," it says in its release.

"Importantly, we achieved our goal of providing consumers with truly innovative product offering compelling value, while holding true to our full-priced proposition by not discounting in our retail stores to protect our brand integrity."

While the company boasts that "we stood virtually alone among retailers in maintaining our long-standing practice of not discounting in our retail stores," it says third-quarter offerings will "increase our selection of product across a variety of price points, offering exceptional value to a consumer who is clearly more reluctant to spend."

And Burberry Group PLC announced a series of cost efficiencies, and says that while global revenues gained 9% in its most recent quarter, "challenging and volatile markets" translated into weak results in the U.S. and Spain, and an 8% decline in licensing revenue. It will reportedly lay off 9% of its staff and close a factory in the U.K.

Last week, Saks--citing "some of the most difficult economic conditions our company has faced in its 84-year history"--said it expected the environment to be harsh through 2009, "if not beyond," and laid off 9% of its workforce. It also cut its expansion plans in half.

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