Accessories retailer Coach Inc today (22 April) posted a 10% rise in third quarter profits, despite the weakening retail environment in the US.

The company registered net sales growth of 19% to US$745m, leading to a 10% rise in net income to $162m. Earnings per diluted share were up 19% to $0.46, Coach added.

Gross profit was up 15% to $558m, while gross margin fell to 75% from 77.8% in the previous year, mainly thanks to the sharp rise of the yen, as well as the continued promotional environment.

"We were pleased to deliver quarterly results which met our top- and bottom-line expectations, despite the weakening retail climate in the US," said Coach chairman and CEO Lew Frankfurt.

"Our strong overall performance continues to reflect the critical balance provided by our multi-channel and international business model."

For the first nine months of the fiscal year, net sales were up 22% to $2.4bn, while net income increased 19% to $570m.

Coach is projecting fiscal 2008 sales of $3.18bn, up 22%, and reiterated earnings per share guidance of $2.06, also up 22%.

This is based on predicted fourth quarter sales of $780m, up 20%, and earnings per share of $0.50, also up 20%.