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Now let me outline that the speakers and topics for this conference call. Lew Frankfort will provide an overall summary of our second fiscal quarter 2011 results. He will also discuss strategies going forward. Mike Tucci will review the holiday season from the U.S. retail perspective and discuss key initiatives for the spring season ahead. Mike Devine will continue with details on financial and operational results of the quarter. Following that, we will hold a question-and-answer session that will end shortly before 9:30 a.m. We will then conclude with some brief summary comments.I'd now like to introduce Lew Frankfort, Coach's Chairman and CEO. Lew Frankfort Thanks, Andrea, and welcome, everyone. As noted in our release this morning, we were very pleased with our holiday results, including strong sales and earnings growth and exceptional comparable store sales in our North American Retail businesses. Our performance clearly demonstrates the brands of vibrancy across channels and geographies and bodes well for future growth. Beyond the top line, we were also very pleased with our high levels of profitability and substantial cash generation. In addition, we made continued progress against our global business initiatives, including international expansion, Men's, and digital media. We experienced strong response to our new collections, and our pricing and assortment strategy continued to resonate with consumers worldwide. We're well situated to build upon our leadership position and continue to gain market share. Further, the announcement today of the authorization of a new buyback program reflects our financial strength and our confidence in Coach's future. While I will get into more detail about the outlook for the category and our business shortly, I did want to take the time to review our quarter first. Some key highlights of our second fiscal quarter were: First, earnings per share rose 33% to $1 compared with $0.75 in the prior year; second, quarterly net sales totaled $1.26 billion versus $1.1 billion a year ago, an increase of 19%; third, Direct-to-Consumer sales rose 17% to $1.1 billion from $934 million in the prior year on a comparable basis; fourth, North American same-store sales for the quarter accelerated, writing 12.6% from prior year, while total North American Direct-to-Consumer sales rose 17%; and fifth, sales in Japan were even to prior year in constant currency and rose 8% in dollars; and finally, we continue to generate very strong sales growth and significant double digit comps in China.
During the quarter, we opened two North American retail stores both in Canada, as well as one factory store. Thus, at the end of the period, there were 347 Full Price and 129 factory stores in operation in North America.Moving to Japan, one Coach shop-in-shop was opened in addition to a travel retail location. At quarter end, they were 171 total locations in Japan with 20 Full Price stores, including eight flagships, 117 shop-in-shops, 27 factory stores and seven distributor-operated travel retail locations. And in China, we added three new locations all in the mainland. At the end of the quarter, they were 52 Coach locations in China, including 10 in Hong Kong, two in Macau and 40 locations on the mainland in 16 cities. As we've discussed previously, we are building a multichannel distribution model in China, including flagships, retail stores, shop-in-shops and factory stores. Indirect sales increased 28% to $168 million from $131 million in the same period last year. This gain reflected significant growth in shipments into international wholesale and U.S. department stores given positive POS sales trends notably in the international business. Specifically, sales for the quarter at retail and international wholesale locations were very strong driven by double-digit gains in same-store sales and new distribution, while sales at POS and U.S. department stores rose 3% for the quarter. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com