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New York & Co. Poaches Execs From Coach

Coach | Graphic OP Art Wristlet
Coach Inc.
Coach | Graphic OP Art Wristlet

Retailer Coach seeing two of its design executives split at the seams and leave for New York & Company .

The latest to jump ship: Coach's Executive Vice President Of Design David Witkewicz.

New York & Company, the women's specialty fashion apparel and accessories retailer, announced this week Witkewicz will start this month as Executive Vice-President of Design.

This comes after Michele Parsons, Coach's Vice President of Merchandising Retail North America, was chosen just before the holidays to become Executive Vice President of Merchandising at New York and Company.

"Being that such high level people are moving right after the holiday peak and before the company announces earnings results, it would imply the holiday season was not up to standards set forth by (Coach Chairman and CEO) Lew Frankfort," said Brian Sozzi, Wall Street Strategies Equity Research Analyst.

A Coach spokesperson said the company is in a quiet period and its policy is not to comment on executives who leave.

Greg Scott, New York & Company's President, said "We are excited about the renewed energy in our creative and merchandising teams."

"The company wants both of them because each has exposure to higher end retailing and mass market. It's that marrying of the two that New York & Company is trying to infuse its business," said Sozzi. "Are they going to start selling $500 handbags, no. But, I think you will see some fancier lines from them in order to captivate the minds of consumers who are shunning commodity products."

It's not like New York & Company has been out of fashion among investors.

Even though New York & Company is considered much lower end compared to affordable luxury retailer Coach, shares have been on a tear. They've surged more than 50-percent over the past three months.

And, just this morning, Zacks Investment Research upgraded the retailer to outperform from neutral.

Talk about dressing for success.

Stephanie is Squawk Box producer and senior NetNet retail correspondent. Follow her on twitter @StephLandsman

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