Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Coach changes name after major acquisitions

Bloomberg

Coach Inc, the iconic New York purveyor of leather goods, is changing its corporate name to Tapestry Inc, a bid to broaden its image after acquiring the Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands.

The new moniker is to take effect at the end of this month, and Coach also plans to change its stock symbol to TPR from COH.

“We are now at a defining moment in our corporate reinvention,” chief executive officer Victor Luis said on Wednesday in a statement. “In Tapestry, we found a name that speaks to creativity, craftsmanship, authenticity and inclusivity on a shared platform.”

The fashion house is building a multibrand company at a time when the handbag industry is facing waning demand and retailers are struggling with declining traffic at brick-and-mortar stores.

Coach bought Kate Spade earlier this year and shoemaker Stuart Weitzman in 2015 to grow into a broader lifestyle company.

The Coach brand is not going anywhere, even as the company changes its corporate identity, but executives are striving to show that they are not dependent on the Coach business to fuel growth, Luis said in an interview, adding that the name was partly aimed at reducing the confusion that consumers have over the Coach and Kate Spade brands.

“When Coach was one brand, that was very easy — the company and the brand were one and the same,” Luis said. “That’s no longer the case.”

However, the name change did not go over well with investors.

Coach shares on Wednesday fell as much as 3.2 percent to US$38.72 in New York, the biggest intraday drop in two months. The stock had gained 14 percent this year through Tuesday’s close.

Founded in 1941, Coach has relied on its New York heritage and prestige to fend off European imports. However, sales have begun to dwindle in recent years amid competition from Kate Spade and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.

It has been selling less to department stores, a channel battered by deep discounts. Coach also has stepped up its digital marketing and tapped actress and singer Selena Gomez as brand ambassador to build buzz.

The Tapestry name, wrapped in a yellow “happy color,” is supposed to project a bright and fresh image, Luis said.

“We made a commitment to be approachable,” he said. “It’s not something so exclusive and off-putting, but quite inviting.”

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