Luxottica Profits, Sales Climb

Lifted by retail and wholesale sales globally, the Italian eyewear firm registered net profits of 452.3 million euros, or $628.7 million.

MILAN — Luxottica Group SpA closed 2011, the year of its 50th anniversary, with a bang, reporting the highest revenues in its history and a 12.5 percent increase in net profits.

Lifted by retail and wholesale sales globally, the Italian eyewear firm registered net profits of 452.3 million euros, or $628.7 million, for the year ended Dec. 31. Sales totaled 6.22 billion euros, or $8.65 billion, up 7.3 percent compared with 2010.

Luxottica house brands include Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol, and the group produces eyewear collections under license for labels ranging from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace to Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany and Burberry.

In 2011, operating income gained 13.3 percent to 807.1 million, or $1.12 billion.

Dollar amounts have been converted at average exchange for the periods to which they refer.

Chief executive officer Andrea Guerra said the performance was driven by “strong commitment, careful planning and impeccable execution,” and set “the basis for the long-term growth of Luxottica.”

Guerra noted the company increased investments by about 30 percent through the expansion of its retail network; further strengthened its brand portfolio; increased production capacity, and improved its technological platforms.

“We have the opportunity, in the coming years, to serve roughly 2 billion potential new consumers worldwide, and this is a challenge we embrace with great enthusiasm and determination,” said Guerra. “I believe that 2012 looks to be another successful year and, if we continue to be resolute and at the same time simple and fast, we will continue the trends exhibited during 2011.” The executive also said that January and February 2012 “have been particularly positive,” with a double-digit growth in sales.

In 2012, the company estimates a 30 percent growth in emerging markets. In North America, retail sales are expected to grow between 5 and 7 percent and wholesale revenues by more than 15 percent.

Emerging markets accounted for about 22 percent of sales for the wholesale division and recorded growth of around 20 percent last year. Luxottica also expects to further develop its business in that area also in light of the recently completed acquisition of Brazilian eyewear operator Tecnol. The group forecasts sales in emerging markets to represent about 30 percent of the wholesale division’s  revenues in 2015.

Luxottica is also banking on the rollout of Sunglass Hut stores in the region, the performance of the newly acquired GMO chain in Latin America, and “excellent results from China.” In particular, Latin America shows significant potential, benefiting from the synergies expected between Tecnol and GMO.

As of Dec. 31, net debt stood at 2.03 billion euros, or $2.82 billion, compared with 2.11 billion euros, or $2.79 billion, at the end of the previous year.

Luxottica shares on the Milan Stock Exchange closed up 1 percent to 25.56 euros, or $34.31.