Although parent company indicated that the year got tougher in Q3 and Q4 in 2008, Oakley was able to reach its plan of 15% U.S. dollar growth in for the year.
The sunglass brand, acquired by Luxottica Group in late 2007, was led by strength in North America and Asia Pacific, according to Scott Olivet, CEO of Luxottica Retail North America, on a conference call with analysts. Double-digit growth came in most parts of the world with the exception of Europe, which has been undergoing a restructuring. Still, Olivet said Oakley's European business improved throughout 2008 and has “seen a strong start” to 2009.
Olivet said the brand achieved “tremendous performance” at both Sunglass Hut and in LensCrafters, which are both also owned by Luxottica. That particularly bolstered results in North America as well as the U.K .and Australia. The brand also benefited from exposure from the Summer Olympics as well as the rollout of its O Labs, which enables consumers or sales associates at the store level to see how Oakley products perform against the competition. In Europe, Oakley has set up new brand headquarters in Zurich and segmented its sales by channel to capitalize on Luxottica's existing retail relationships.
Overall, Luxottica Group's fourth quarter sales rose 4% to 1.24 billion ($1.58bn) from 1.19 million ($1.51bn). At constant exchange rates, sales were unchanged. Assuming the inclusion of results by Oakley, Inc. — acquired in November 2007 — as if it had been acquired on January 1, 2007, pro-forma sales were down 5.5% at constant exchange rates. Earnings fell 44.2% to 54.1 million ($68.8mm) from 96.9 million ($123.2mm).
For the year, sales advanced 4.7% to 5.2 billion ($ 6.6mm) from 4.97 billion ($6.3mm) and gained 10.7% at constant exchange rates. Earnings slid 17.6% to 395.0 million ($502.4mm) from 479.2 million ($609.5mm).