Coach is being seen as the most likely buyer to win up-for-sale British luxury footwear brand Jimmy Choo as the American giant forges ahead with its plan to become a multibrand luxury player.
Jimmy Choo was put on the block last month after its majority own JAB Holdings decided to focus on its coffee shop and café interests leafing to its other British brand Belstaff and its Swiss luxury label Bally also being up for sale.
It is thought less likely that one of the big European luxury houses would target a Jimmy Choo buy with Coach’s rivals more likely to be wealthy private equity investors from Asia or the Middle East.
Buying Jimmy Choo would instantly strengthen Coach’s presence in the growing footwear sector and take it even into more upmarket territory than its existing premium-to-luxury Stuart Weitzman label.
Industry sources told the Sunday Telegraph they see $11bn market-cap Coach as having the resources to beat off competition for Coach, as well as the investment cash to expand it fast. The company also benefits from the Coach brand’s new president and CEO, Joshua Schulman, having been CEO of Jimmy Choo until 2012.
After buying Stuart Weitzman for almost $600m in early 2015, Coach continued its won turnaround and drove Weitzman’s sales upwards. It now seems determined to convert itself into a much bigger multibrand player and in recent months an audacious approach to buy Burberry was turned down by the UK firm. Coach is still among the big names linked to a potential Kate Spade buy, however.
Whether it eventually wins Spade, Kors or any other giant brand, with Jimmy Choo potentially having a £700m-plus prince tag, buying it would be an affordable way to give Coach a label with massive growth potential and an as-yet-under-exploited presence in the key Chinese market. It’s also a brand that’s growing fast in the men’s sector and has a thriving perfumes portfolio, two crucial growth areas.