Coach parent Tapestry forecasts weak 2024 on soft U.S. demand

By Savyata Mishra, Juveria Tabassum and Katherine Masters

(Reuters) -Coach parent Tapestry, which agreed to buy Capri last week, forecast fiscal 2024 profit and sales below estimates on Thursday after waning U.S. demand for its luxury handbags hurt fourth-quarter results.

The company also joined luxury rivals Ralph Lauren, LVMH, Gucci-owner Kering and Canada Goose in pointing to a challenging consumer backdrop in North America.

Increased cost of living and still-high inflation has pressured American budgets, affecting companies such as Tapestry in the “accessible luxury” segment – where customers occasionally buy goods priced between $300 and $800, but are more sensitive to the cost of essentials.

Coach’s best-selling Tabby handbag sells for $450 on the company’s U.S. site, while a comparable product from Dior sells for $3,800.

“The lower income cohort is under pressure,” and is being more choosy, CEO Joanne Crevoiserat said on a post-earnings call.

However, Tapestry said it expects to benefit from a recovery in demand from the “highly profitable region” of China this fiscal year.

In the reported quarter, revenues from its Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands dropped 10% and 13% over the last year. TD Cowen analyst Oliver Chen attributed the weakness at Kate Spade partly to its higher exposure in North America.

Sales of Coach, which has less exposure to the volatile North American market, grew 5% over the quarter. Executives said the company would focus marketing and inventory in the key holiday season on core products such as the Tabby handbag.

“Managing the amount of evergreen or never out-of-stock iconic product — that’s where you get efficiency, that’s where you get deeper engagement with customers, and that’s our strategy,” CFO Scott Roe said in a post-conference interview.

Last week, Tapestry said it would buy its rival, Michael Kors owner Capri, in a deal valued at $8.5 billion, in a bid to challenge larger European competitors for a bigger share of the global luxury market.

Tapestry expects adjusted earnings of $4.10 to $4.15 per share in fiscal 2024, compared with Refinitiv IBES estimates of $4.24.

Its net sales forecast was a touch shy of estimates.

The company’s adjusted per-share profit was 78 cents for the fourth quarter ended July 1, missing expectations of 97 cents.

“With more growth coming from overseas, Tapestry’s profitability was hurt somewhat by the strong dollar – an issue that continues to affect many U.S.-based brands and retailers,” Insider Intelligence analyst Rachel Wolff said.

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra and Juveria Tabassum in Bengaluru; Kate Masters in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Devika Syamnath)