Upscale accessories retailer Coach has signed a $10 million deal with pop singer and actor Selena Gomez to design her own product line and become the face of its brand.
Gomez, who once dated pop phenom Justin Bieber and topped the Billboard pop charts with her most recent album "Revival," was recently named the most popular celebrity on Instagram for the second year straight and has 104 million followers on the social media platform, according to the New York Post’s Page Six column.
Just three years ago, Gomez — who got her start on the children’s program "Barney & Friends" — partnered with struggling chain Kmart on an apparel line called “Dream Out Loud.”
Until this news, Selena Gomez has been a celebrity more likely to be associated with Coachella than Coach. The choice for the luxury brand —which is working hard to rekindle the ardor of big spenders by increasing its full-line sales and eschewing what had become rampant discounts — is not an obvious one, considering that the former Disney star previously collaborated with Kmart. Gomez's Instagram following is legion, though (surpassing even Beyonce), and Coach likely hopes to capture the attention of her younger fans and signal that it’s not just a dowdy brand for older people.
It’s been an uphill climb for Coach, though the company is seeing some traction. It reported a fiscal Q1 sales increase of 1% to $1.04 billion as it continued its efforts to pull out of hundreds of U.S. department stores and extricate itself from heavy promotional environments and off-price competition.
That departure from so many department stores took its toll in the most recent quarter, as brand sales fell 3% to $545 million, compared to $561 million in the same period last year. Brick-and-mortar same-store sales rose 4%, or 2% when e-commerce was factored in, due in part to the company's restriction on discounts through its flash-sale site, while North American department store sales fell 30%.
But Coach creative director Stuart Vevers says the emphasis is on moving forward through new designs, telling British Vogue U.K. last month that he believes the brand must become more “spontaneous” and “fun.”
“This is a new day at Coach," Vevers said. "When I first joined, I used our history as a touchstone so it was for me to discover the things that would be believable at Coach. I felt it was important to be bold and look forward and explore what the next generation want from luxury and fashion.”