Strong appetite for luxury spurs Michael Kors sales

Models and staff prepare backstage before the Michael Kors Spring 2011 collection during New York Fashion Week September 15, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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(Reuters) - Michael Kors Holdings Ltd reported a better-than- expected 40 percent jump in quarterly revenue, driven by strong demand for its trendy handbags and watches. Signs of economic recovery in the United States and Europe have increased demand for affordable luxury items. Men are also spending more on luxury, encouraging companies to step up investments. Michael Kors Holdings, controlled by fashion designer and former "Project Runway" TV show judge Michael Kors, has been growing at a blistering pace and is aggressively expanding its stores in the United States and Europe. The company's net income jumped 49 percent to $145.8 million, or 71 cents per share, in second quarter ended September 28 from $97.8 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected 68 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose to $740.3 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $726 million. Comparable store sales in North America, Kors' largest market, rose 21 percent, helped by its accessories and watch collection. Michael Kors, whose handbags, watches and apparel have been spotted on first lady Michelle Obama and celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, said sales in Europe more than doubled to $114 million. (Reporting by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)