Upmarket accessories company Coach Inc has reported a 49 per cent hike in fourth-quarter profit, driven by good sales of fashion handbags in the US and Japan.

Fourth-quarter earnings totalled USD97.6 million compared to USD65.7m in the same period last year, while sales grew 24 per cent to USD419m. Same-store sales at Coach stores increased 22 per cent.

The company predicted earnings of at least USD1.24 per share for the full 2006 financial year and a 22 per cent growth in sales to approximately USD2.1 billion.