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Lew Frankfort, Reed Krakoff
Chairman, CEO; President, Executive Creative Director; Coach Inc.
2008 Rank: 31
High-end consumers may still be clutching their wallets, but Frankfort, 63, and Krakoff, 45, think they know what will loosen that grip: Coach’s new Reed Krakoff line of apparel and accessories, priced at $495 to $1,195. However, the collection won’t be found in Coach’s doors. Instead, the firm will distribute it through specialty stores and a string of freestanding shops. Pricey bet? Only time — and consumers — will tell if it was worth it. Meanwhile, Frankfort’s feeling positive about the brand’s new focus on product for today’s value-driven customers, with Coach adding lower-priced goods to the mix. The company also wants even more shops to sell its luxe line, with 20 branded North American stores slated for new locations in fiscal 2010. Internationally, the company plans to bow 10 shops in Japan and 15 in China. That should all help to bolster its financials. Net income for the first quarter fell 3 percent, and sales in the period rose 1 percent to $761.4 million from $752.5 million, despite a one-third drop in the wholesale business.