Coach, Inc. is an upscale American leather goods company known for women’s and men’s handbags, as well as items such as luggage, briefcases, wallets and other accessories (belts, shoes, scarves, umbrella…). The firm was founded in 1941, in a loft in New York as a partnership called the Gail Manufacturing Company. As of July 2, 2011, the company operates in over 20 countries with more than 1,100 retail stores and around 15,000 employees worldwide. Today, Coach Inc. has distribution, product development and quality control operations in the US, France, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, China and South Korea. From 2001 to 2011, Coach launched a series of activities to take great control over the brand in the Asian markets, and it also accelerated its European expansion with the help of its European joint venture partner in 2011. Continuous innovation and affordable price are two keys for Coach to conduct international business. In addition, owing to its multi-channel retail network, Coach, Inc. has successfully enhanced its brand image all over the world. Luxury goods industry is highly competitive due to a low market-entry barrier. It has experienced ups and downs during the 2000s. And in recent years, the industry has recovered and developed rapidly. More and more luxury goods corporations have expanded their operations in emerging markets through Internet and e-commerce. The future outlook of this industry is optimistic. The competitions in the luxury goods industry are pretty intense. Many competitors of Coach are from France and Italy such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, and Prada. Having superior brand recognitions and strong impacts on global luxury goods market make them become dangerous rivals of Coach, Inc. Even though Coach Inc. has come up with good strategy, it still suffered from harsh competition. The profit margin was still below the level achieved prior to the onset of a slowing economy in 2007 and its share price had experienced a sharp decline during the first six months of 2012. Due to the changing environment and harsher competition, it was not clear whether the company’s recent growth could be sustained and its competitive advantage could hold in the face of new accessible luxury lines launched by such aggressive and successful luxury brands as Michael Kors, Salvatore… Therefore, I recommend that Coach thinks about spending money working on TV commercials, or cooperating with some world-famous jewelry brands to raise the brand awareness. It also needs to consider expanding in China so as to cut down operating expenses and better meet the Chinese customers’ growing needs. Question 1. What are the defining characteristics of the luxury goods industry? What is the industry like? Economics define a luxury good as one for which demand increase as income increase. Luxury goods are said to have high income elasticity of demand: as people become wealthier, they will buy more and more of the luxury good. This also means, however, that should there be a decline in income its demand will drop. Unlike inferior goods, they are related to price and high-income individuals. A luxury corporation may establish its image via pricing, exclusivity, limited availability, quality and location. High pricing gives the product its prestigious nature, and implies high quality. Luxuries may be services. The hiring of full-time or live-in domestic servants is a luxury reflecting disparities of income. Some financial services, especially in some brokerage houses, can be considered luxury services by default because persons in lower-income brackets generally do not use them. Luxury brands in general, relied on creative designs, high quality, and brand reputation to attract customers and build brand loyalty. Price sensitivity for luxury goods was driven by brand exclusivity, customer-centric marketing, and to large extent some emotional sense of status and value. The luxury goods market has been on an upward climb for...
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