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Retailers, consumers and prices

Coach head bullish on Obama

January 22, 2009

JAPAN/Coach Inc Chief Executive Lew Frankfort is optimistic about a future under Barack Obama

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Frankfort said he was confident the new  U.S.  president can help ease the minds of consumers, who spent much less on Coach bags and accessories during the 2008 holiday season than they did a year ago, leading the company to scale back expansion and lower prices.

“I think so much of how consumers behave is based upon their psyches, and there’s enormous fear that we don’t know where bottom is and that things can worse,” Frankfort said. “I have a lot of confidence that he (Obama) will instill programs and initiatives to give people confidence. He himself gives people confidence.”

Yet in light of the 5-percent stock market decline on Tuesday, the day Obama was sworn in as the 44th U.S. president, Frankfort cautioned that a real recovery in consumer sentiment will require actual improvements in economic conditions.

“Consumers are not going to feel better until the credit markets loosen up and the housing markets stabilize,” he said. “Consumer credit is still extremely tight. Credit availability has loosened up somewhat, both commercially and personally, but no one has a feeling that it’s systemic.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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