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The bright spot in Coach's earnings report

Coach's global sales continued their downward trajectory in the second quarter, dropping 14 percent to $1.22 billion.

But it wasn't all bad news.

Redesigned Coach store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Source: Coach
Redesigned Coach store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif.

On the luxury brand's earnings call Thursday morning, CEO Victor Luis said same-store sales are trending positive at its 20 newly revamped locations, which are designed to channel a "modern" feel through new architecture and fixtures. That compares to a domestic same-store sales decline of 22 percent for its overall fleet.

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"While these stores are still few in number, their performance was substantially better than the rest of the fleet," Luis said.

The CEO attributed the remodeled stores' outperformance to stronger traffic trends, and a higher rate of visitors who ended up making a purchase. He added that the label plans to renovate a total of 150 existing locations to this new concept in 2015, and open up to 60 new stores globally.

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The new stores are one pillar of Coach's transformation strategy, which calls for more fashion-forward product under a new creative director, fewer sales promotions to make the brand feel more exclusive and more on-point marketing.

"Relative outperformance in elevated areas of [Coach's] business ... communicate signs of life from the [company's] turnaround efforts, albeit on a small scale today," Jefferies analyst Randal Konik wrote in a note to investors.

"More importantly, however, green shoots signal to us that when product and marketing are right, consumers have an appetite to buy."

The retailer is still facing severe headwinds in rebuilding its brand equity in the U.S., where its prior highly promotional strategy and large focus on outlet stores tarnished its allure.

"[Coach] faces the difficult task of reinventing its brand on the public stage, and while it has set the bar low, it will still be tough to impress investors with 30 percent-plus earnings declines," Wells Fargo analyst Paul Lejuez wrote in a note to investors.

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"We continue to believe it will be difficult for [Coach] to execute its transformation strategy, and it will likely weigh on margins and returns, making it tough for the stock to work, in our view."

Despite rising about 6 percent on Thursday, Coach shares are still trading near $38—almost half of what they were during their heyday in 2012.