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Coach Hits Year-Low; Analysts Skeptical Of Restructuring Plan

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Coach's (NYSE: COH) plan to shut 20 percent of its stores and upgrade the rest received uniformly dour reviews on Wall Street, as shares hit a low for the year on Friday.

Coach on Thursday unveiled related restructuring charges of up to $300 million and said same-store sales were likely to decline in the short term.

Barclay's Joan Payson called the moves "a welcome shift" although she cut her price target from $45 to $34.

Payson figures store improvements will cost about $570 million, partly offset by closing 70 main-line stores and five outlets. But the investments won't start to pay off until mid-2016, Payson said in a note.

Citi's Oliver Chen called the restructuring "a layer cake of risk" given its complexity. Chen cut his target to $36 per share. He praised Coach's new strategy, defining it as "more customer-centric core/downtown/uptown."

Nomura's Robert Druhl maintained a Buy, calling the restructuring "comprehensive, strategic and bold." Sustained growth should resume in 2017, Druhl said in a note cutting his target from $50 to $45.

Topeka's Dorothy S. Lakner said the restructuring "could work," but not immediately. "Management set the bar lower than we expected," Lakner said in a note cutting her target to $46 to $34. Topeka maintained a Hold rating.

Customer resistance to fewer promotional prices has proven fierce in past similar scenarios, according to UBS' Michael Binetti, while the raft of store closings will be "painful." Binetti cut his price target from $45 to $35 and maintained a Hold rating.

According to Wells Fargo's Evren Kopelman, Coach is "trying to create a luxury halo around its brand. But we don't think the more luxury customer will be as interested in Coach as Coach is in them." Wells cut its price target to $32-$34, from $40-$42.

"Things will get worse before they get better," Sterne Agee's Ike Boruchaw said in a note. Sterne remains on the sidelines with a Neutral rating and cut its target from $41 to $33.

Coach traded recently at $34.60, down over three percent.

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Posted-In: Barclays Citigroup Dorothy S. Lakner Evren Kopelman Joan PaysonAnalyst Color Price Target Analyst Ratings


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