Coach Opening Store For Guys

Discussion
Feb 12, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Coach Inc. has relied primarily on women customers to build the luxury brand
but now the company is turning its attention to the opposite sex with its very
first store designed strictly for men.

Mike Tucci, president of North America retail for Coach, told Dow Jones the
store represents a test to explore the “broader men’s opportunity for the brand
globally.”
The new store, which will be located on Bleeker Street in New York’s West Village,
will measure 550 square-feet and sell business and travel goods including footwear,
fragrances, outerwear, small leather goods, timepieces and other accessories.

Mr. Tucci told Dow Jones that Coach views the store and others that
will follow “as labs where we compile an emerging men’s collection and evolve
our merchandising strategies.”
Susan Nelson, executive director of consumer insights at Landor Associates,
said Coach will be helped by “the lack of really great mainstream leather accessories
brands for men.”

Coach’s experiment is in line with others in the luxury segment including
Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo and Hermes that have or plan to open
men’s only locations.

A Wall Street Journal report cited a survey of the wealthiest 10 percent
of households in the U.S. by the American Affluence Research Center, which
found men were not cutting back as much as women on luxury designer goods.

Discussion Question: What do you think of Coach and other luxury brands that
have built their businesses catering to females opening stores for men? What
will it take for them to succeed?

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19 Comments on "Coach Opening Store For Guys"


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Pradip V. Mehta, P.E.
Guest
Pradip V. Mehta, P.E.
11 years 3 months ago

I think it is a great idea! It is “out-of-the-box” thinking. Why assume that only women are interested in fashion? Men are interested in fashion too, except that there are limited ways for how they can show it and live it. A visit to both stores, Coach and Hermes, are on my list of “things to do” when I am in New York city next time.

David Biernbaum
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Good luck to Coach (stores) for guys but many female-oriented retailers that have tried similar approaches before now have not necessarily succeeded. It would seem that Coach is best known for its purses and it might have a tough time with guys to overcome that image.

What probably needs to happen for success is that females will shop the Coach stores for guys to make purchases for the men in their lives, and this might help to get things rolling!

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 3 months ago

My wife has dragged me into many Coach stores hither and yon and I am always at a loss as to why so many women feel the necessity to buy high priced purses, bags, scarves and accessories in multiple numbers. But I’ve never been in a Coach store that didn’t have customers.

Unless there is a strong trend among men to “doll” themselves up with designer items and trinkets, I would think COACHing of the Male is still beyond the masculine majority. But when I watch contemporary entertainment life on TV, my doubts increase. So–now we’ll see if the COACH magnet can capture the heart of pedestrian male.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 3 months ago

I think this is a smart move but I’m not sure if they’re doing it for the reasons I think they’re doing it.

The reality is that designer women’s fashion is going to be challenged over the next decade for two reasons. Economic challenges brought on by the recession and resulting in a return to saving and demographic challenges underpinned by an aging population.

Remember all those women that entered the workforce in the ’80s and sent retail through the roof? They’ll be steadily retiring over the next decade. With that, their need for new, designer clothes and accessories will diminish accordingly. There just won’t as many women who need or can afford Coach merchandise.

With that in mind, extending the proposition to men as a backfill strategy makes perfect sense as long as they maintain their brand essence along the way.

Roger Saunders
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Agree with David. “Metrosexuals” aside, the market is likely to hold a limited number of locations that COACH can ramp up for Men only. COACH is second to none in quality/value, but the Male consumer still is greatly influenced by Female guidance in clothing.

COACH would do well to continue to “salt” a select number of Male items in their stores, and build out Male-driven stores, prudently.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

There have been successes and failures both ways as women’s companies test the men’s market and vice versa. Coach is not couture and, while the brand has a design aesthetic, it doesn’t have a hardcore point of view. Coach is more of a brand than a look, so I believe that it will make the transition into men’s more easily than most, especially when any or all of the design work and manufacturing may be outsourced to companies that are seasoned menswear providers. I’d call this a logical brand extension.

Brian Anderson
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

A refreshing concept; keep the square footage small, have a relevant selection, and provide Raving Fan service. The Art of Shaving that caters to the high-end metrosexual is performing well and adding locations.

Coach has an opportunity to add extra value services to create “the place.” Early on, Coach allocated a small selection for men’s accessories. I still wear my coach belt that was bought some 10+ years ago. Fashion and quality are synonymous with Coach.

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I think this is a great idea and I think they’re doing it at the right moment. The men’s luxury market has proven to be a lot more recession resistant than the women’s and everyone is looking to expand their brands into other segments. Coach will find easy pickin’s among the guys who want a great accessory but would like to pay a lot less than they would at Hermes, et al. They will also be well positioned to take advantage of the guy who wants to trade up from the typical department store offerings but are not willing to spend a week’s paycheck to do so. But, I will add one word of caution; experience. The Coach men’s store experience should aspire to Hermes and be a heck of a lot better than Macy’s.

Ben Ball
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I think we used to have this in San Francisco–it was called Gokey’s?

Coach may translate well for metrosexuals–but I still prefer to buy my leather at L.L.Bean.

Sandy Miller
Guest
Sandy Miller
11 years 3 months ago

This is a good idea. But it needs an in-store Direct Selling Media program to increase sales where and when shoppers make buying decisions.

Arthur Rosenberg
Guest
Arthur Rosenberg
11 years 3 months ago

Years ago the original Saks flagship had an incredible sale and I bought a couple of Coach belts at a low price for Coach. They proved to be noticeably great belts. At the time I noticed the quality of their wallets which were all leather (no nylon) and probably wore very well.

Lately I noticed their wallets do contain nylon and so I wonder if their quality remains at a level worthy of their prices. If not, I don’t see men falling en masse for the brand, especially in this economy.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Well why not? With this thimble-sized floorplate, it doesn’t seem like Mr. Tucci and his lab partners have much downside.

That having been said, the very “micro” nature of this experiment makes me wonder exactly what will be learned: if NYC can support only 550 sq.ft., what would be tried in smaller markets…i.e. everywhere else? And if a bigger store CAN be supported, why not try it from the beginning?

Mark Burr
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

The Coach stores I have seen are awash in extra space and sparse on customers. They are definitely upscale with a limited customer base. They might take a look at Fossil stores where they are well merchandised with product for both men and women. While they are dominate with merchandise for women, they have a very nice section for men’s products.

I doubt that many markets other than very large major cities could support a standalone. They would be much better off utilizing their existing wasted space and doing combo stores.

Warren Thayer
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

I agree with Roger Saunders when he said Coach should “salt” a select number of male items in their stores, and build out male-driven stores, prudently. From having once lived in NYC for many years, I know this particular neighborhood, and if it’s going to work anywhere in Manhattan, this is the first location I’d choose. Like some of the other males here, I don’t buy any Coach stuff and am mystified why anybody would spend so much money for things you can get at a fraction of the price at L.L.Bean, Macy’s, or, um Duluth Trading.

Lee Peterson
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

It’s a tough road, switching genders after becoming a preeminent brand for only one. Having said that, Coach’s unaided brand awareness for fashionable men must be in the high 90s–they’re practically a household name in NYC and SF for example. So, given that, I think if anyone has a chance to succeed, it’s Coach. The key will be tempering that success should it show up (i.e. not going nuts with 500 stores). And for us metros, there’s really not much out there outside of the major urban areas so, I for one am pulling for them!

Kai Clarke
Guest
11 years 3 months ago

Coach needs to stick to its core competencies. If it wants to offer more men’s accessories, great, then do it online or as an order product. Opening a store to sell more to men, changes Coach’s focus from their core competency of a women’s supplier and focuses their resources in other directions. The result will be easy to forecast: fewer sales per dollar spent since men historically purchase less accessories than women.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 3 months ago

I loves me some leather. Long-time Hartmann leather guy. Wish they made couches and recliners. Sturdy stuff. Their products do not wear out (unless you put your wallet through the washing machine like I did). Think there’ll be a Coach couch?

Like many others, I have been dragged to Coach stores by my wife only to stand and hope for an out-of-body experience. Never happened. But, the point is that Coach should give men something to do while waiting on the women to cluck over the products. Something like shopping for stuff for themselves. And like having the wife there to guide their purchases. Put the men’s stuff in the existing stores. There’s plenty of room.

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
11 years 3 months ago

I like this. Over the past several years, we’ve seen various chains create offerings specifically for male shoppers, e.g., the very recent Men’s Zone at H-E-B. These male-focused concepts are smart given the fact that today’s males are increasingly confident in shouldering shopping duties, and they spend more time, energy and money patronizing categories like grooming, fitness and home furnishings. And that’s not a fad that’s going to fade. Today’s youngest males are “coming of shopping age” in a time when brands are reaching out to them with products and stores designed specifically for them. The expectation is being set that males will have their own products, services and stores.

In addition, I heartily encourage all retailers to seek out new demographics by creating offerings tailored to their shopping need and behaviors. Compared to just a few decades ago, today’s consumers enjoy a growing number of unique lifestyles and life stages–each representing opportunities for brands. Kudos to Coach and other merchants smart enough to realize that there are more consumers to target than teens and moms.

Vincent Young
Guest
Vincent Young
11 years 3 months ago

Coach is the ultimate “aspirational” brand. This brand extension is extremely logical given that: 1. The word itself is actually fairly masculine already; and 2. Women will proudly shop the male version of the store when shopping to outfit a man. Any brand headwind that limits Coach’s ability to connect with men is easily overcome by Coach’s selection/identification of the right celebrity to endorse the new effort.

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