Coach powers ahead – with a little help from Gwyneth

A taste for American leather handbags and shoes promoted by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow has helped Coach report a 21 per cent rise in net profits to $225m (£140m) on sales up 17 per cent to $1.1bn for the third quarter.

The brand, founded in New York in 1941, has been expanding worldwide and will open its third London store on Friday on Regent Street.

It has increased its dividend by 33 per cent and operating margin improved to 30.4 per cent from 29.4 per cent in last year's third quarter.

And it is not just women who are buying the brand – menswear sales are set to double to more than $400m for 2012.

Lew Frankfort, the chairman and chief executive, said: "We're pleased with the very strong top- and bottom-line performance. Our results demonstrated the brand's resonance across channels, categories and geographies."

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