Coach has been trying to transform into a lifestyle brand by offering more than just handbags as the company faces fierce competition from rivals including Michael Kors and Tory Burch.
But so far the expansion into new categories, including footwear and accessories, hasn’t helped Coach avoid sales declines. In its most recent quarter, the leather goods maker posted its steepest drop in North American same-store sales in almost five years while earnings fell 1.6%.
We went to Bloomingdale’s to see how the foot traffic around Coach’s shoe display is faring in relation to competitors. Conveniently, the display for Tory Burch, one of Coach’s main rivals, is situated directly adjacent to Coach’s.
The difference in traffic between the two brands was astounding.
Over a 30-minute period on Sunday, not a single customer tried on a Coach shoe, while the Tory Burch display was bustling with at least 10 customers trying on shoes and three sales representatives present at any given time.
Here’s a photo of the Tory Burch display:
Now here’s the Coach display with part of Tory Burch’s department — marked by the green carpet — visible to the right:
One sales representative in the Tory Burch department appeared to be solely assigned to the task of running inventory between the display area and the stock room.
As he hustled back and forth with his arms full of Tory Burch shoe boxes, another sales representative followed customers around to replace shoes that never remained long on the display shelves.
Here’s another look at the Tory Burch display:
Meanwhile, over in the Coach department, the shoes remained untouched.
At one point, one lone customer sat on the leather couch in the display area and tried on a pair of Tory Burch shoes:
Coach CEO Lew Frankfort said last month that the company’s footwear category is driving “excellent growth,” moving from 4% of the business last year to 8% this year. He did not go into further detail on footwear sales.
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