American luxury brand COACH struggles with expansion in Europe

American luxury brand COACH, which specializes in leather accessories has signed an agreement with French department store chain PRINTEMPS, to develop up to 14 stores within their major stores. PRINTEMPS has been expanding internationally with franchised operations. COACH has been a market leader in USA and Japan, following closely its direct competitor Louis Vuitton.

However, in Europe, COACH has made some unfortunate choices when it comes to distribution agreements through local partners and that is why, its sales in Europe are insignificant when compared with Louis Vuitton. 

For instance, unlike all other major luxury brands which have made it a strategy not to overexpose by allowing cross border franchising and distribution agreements, COACH has done the opposite, therefore limiting its presence. For instance, the entire Eastern European area with major countries such as Romania and Bulgaria has been ”assigned” exclusively to Greek sportswear retailer ELMEC, which has until now, has only managed to launch Coach in two locations in their home country Greece. The exclusivity agreement has been in place for more than 2 years.