Coach, Inc., a leading marketer of modern classic American accessories, explained today that the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has ended its investigation regarding LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton's (LVMH) harassing and anti-competitive practices in Japan without taking any action.
Coach filed the complaint in Tokyo in March describing a pattern of conduct going back over the previous year, in which LVMH engaged in inappropriate and threatening behavior by exerting pressure on common business partners. At the time, Coach noted that while they had not suffered any material damages, even the suggestion of anti-competitive behavior required decisive action.
Lew Frankfort, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coach, Inc., said, “We believe our filing with the JFTC and the subsequent investigation served our primary goal, which was to send a strong message that we will not tolerate any actions that limit consumer choice.”
While LVMH attempted to pressure Coach's retail partners in Japan, JFTC representatives apparently determined that the department stores used their independent judgment regarding all sales space and were not influenced by LVMH's harassing behavior. Mr. Frankfort added, “This finding is surprising because it contradicts what department stores repeatedly reported to Coach executives prior to the filing of the complaint.”
Coach continues to experience excellent growth in Japan as it has during the last several years, expanding with both its retail partners and in stand-alone shops. “We are hopeful that the increased scrutiny brought to bear by the filing of this complaint – which appears to have resulted in an abatement of LVMH's interference with our department store partners – will continue in the future and contribute to the promotion of fair competition in the Japanese market,” Mr, Frankfort concluded.
Coach, with headquarters in New York, is a leading American marketer of fine accessories and gifts for women and men, including handbags, women's and men's small leathergoods, business cases, weekend and travel accessories, footwear, watches, outerwear, scarves, sunwear, and related accessories. Coach is sold worldwide through Coach stores, select department stores and specialty stores, through the Coach catalog in the U.S. by calling 1-800-223-8647 and through Coach's website at www.coach.com. Coach's shares are traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COH.