Luxottica Group said sales of its Oakley and Ray-Ban eyewear continued to grow at double-digit rates in the first quarter and raised its upper guidance for sales of the newly launched Coach eyewear line by 20 percent to $60 million.
Net sales reached €1.79 million ($2.35 bb), up 14.9 percent in currency-neutral (c-n) terms as its Wholesale grew 13.4 percent and its Retail division grew 11.9 percents compared to the first quarter of 2011, which was also characterized by strong growth. Especially strong performance was achieved in emerging markets, which grew by more than 36 percent, with peak sales growth of approximately 40 percent in Brazil, India and East Asia. Conditions remained tough in the Mediterranean and worse in Spain than Italy.
In North America, net sales in U.S. dollars grew by 8.5 percent, mainly due to the performance of the Wholesale Division, where sales increased 18.1 percent thanks in part to better than expected performance of the recently launched Coach brand. LUX CEO Andrea Guerra said Coach sunglasses could generate sales of $60 million in North America this year. LUX’s Wholesale division also makes and sells sunglasses under the Vogue, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Arnette and REVO house brands as well as a host of licensed luxury brands.
“The US has been very good in this first three months of the year,” said Guerra.
Oakley continues to grow in Europe and expand its prescription eyeglass sales. The brand will be a big boost this summer when LUX will promote that brand heavily at the Summer Olympics in London. Ray-Ban should also contribute to growth in the second and third quarters as it promotes its 75th anniversary, introduces a pair of folding aviator sunglasses and levies 3 to 5 percent May 1 price increase on new orders.
In the Retail Division, Sunglass Hut’s comp store sales increased 10.3 percent worldwide and 9 percent in the United States, which Guerra said reflected a broader trend of growth in premium sunglass sales.