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Michael Kors lifts FY outlook; shares jump to life high

By Siddharth Cavale

(Reuters) - Fashion company Michael Kors Holdings Ltd raised its full-year forecast after handily beating Wall Street estimates for its third-quarter results with the help of strong sales of luxury items in North America and Europe during the holidays.

The results sent the company's shares up 13 percent to a lifetime high of $64.80 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Comparable-store sales rose 41 percent in North America during the holiday quarter, while those in Europe rose 58 percent.

Kors, known for its designer wear, handbags and watches, said conversion of its department store locations into branded shop-in-shops pulled in more customers and generated higher sales volume.

Chief Executive John Idol said the quarter saw strong demand for luxury items from Europe and North America and expects the global luxury market to keep its pace of growth.

The Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study of 2012 estimated that the luxury market would grow from $251 billion in 2011 to between $314 billion and $327 billion in 2015.

Kors, which went public in December 2011, has challenged bigger rival Coach Inc in the affordable luxury segment and seems to be gaining market share, according to analysts. Last month, Coach reported a 2 percent decline in North American same-store sales.

Fewer shoppers visited Coach's own full-service stores and factory outlets during the holiday season, which the company attributed to a cautious mood among consumers.

"Obviously they (Kors) are gaining market share from Coach , but its not only Coach ... it is also the little guys that are getting squeezed in a highly competitive market," Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand told Reuters.

The company said it expects an increase of low-to-mid 20s in same-store sales in the current quarter.

Kors also raised its full-year earnings-per-share estimate to between $1.80 and $1.82 from its previous range of $1.48 to $1.50. It also said it now sees full-year revenue at about $2.1 billion, higher than the $1.86 billion to $1.96 billion forecast earlier.

Analysts had estimated full-year earnings of $1.57 per share on revenue of $2.01 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income rose four fold to $130.0 million, or 64 cents per share, up from $32.0 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected 41 cents per share.

Revenue jumped 70 percent to $636.8 million in the quarter ended December, well ahead of the $540.3 million analysts had anticipated.

(Reporting By Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore and Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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