Helped by higher sales at stores in North America and Japan, Coach said net income in its third quarter ended March 29 rose 8% to $162.4 million, or 46 cents per share, from $150.0 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago.

Net sales for the quarter rose to $744.5 million from $625.3 million a year ago, as sales at North American stores open at least a year climbed 9%. Sales from stores in Japan rose 12%, excluding the impact of the strong yen, which boosts the value of international sales when converted into dollars.

Froms now on, Coach said it will only report same-store sales results for its full-priced and factory stores taken together.

The company said it still expects earnings of $2.06 per share in 2008 but raised its sales target, after already lowering it once this year due to the weak retail climate. Coach said it now expects 2008 sales of about $3.18 billion. In January, it forecast sales of “at least $3.15 billion,” which compared to an earlier forecast for sales of $3.17 billion.

“Due to the continued uncertainty in the economic backdrop, we believe that it's prudent to wait until our fourth-quarter report to offer guidance for the upcoming fiscal year,” chief executive Lew Frankfort said in a statement.