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Tiffany Montgomery
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Oakley records Q1 double digit sales growth

By Tiffany Montgomery
April 25, 2008 6:57 AM

Oakley's new owner Luxottica Group S.p.A. reported first quarter earnings Thursday that indicated Oakley's integration into the Italian company is going well.


Luxottica said in a statement that integration projects with Oakley are moving quickly and exceeding expectations. The most integration has happened in Europe and emerging markets. Before the acquisition in November 2007, Oakley had a relatively undeveloped international operation.


Luxottica said Oakley sales during the quarter grew double digits in the U.S. and other markets and it expects strong results in the second half as the company "exploits Oakley's seasonality and new wholesale/retail mix."


Luxottica is in the wholesale and retail game. It owns brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Arnette as well as retail chain Sunglass Hut, Oakley's biggest customer before the acquisition.


Luxottica's other major house brand, Ray-Ban, also posted strong results in the quarter and released 30 new colors of sunglasses, which are riding a 1980s retro trend.


Overall, sales grew 8 percent in current exchange rates and 17 percent in constant exchange rates.


Luxottica is feeling some pain in its U.S. retail operation with the soft economy, however, and has embarked on a cost control plan.


Because of the retail slowdown and currency fluctuations, net profit companywide for the first quarter fell 19 percent to 103.7 million euros ($163.52 million).


The company said its wholesale operating income surged 32.9 percent to 619.6 million euros ($977.05 million), but retail operating income slipped 6.5 percent to 779.1 million euros ($1.23 billion), as consumer traffic slowed in the United States, the Associated Press reported. Out of about 6,000 Luxottica stores, 4,500 are U.S.-based.


"While there clearly is a market slowdown, the severe market fluctuations appear to have been stabilized," the company said.


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