MILAN — Despite the challenging economy, sales and profitability at Luxottica Group SpA continued to climb in the third quarter, boosted by ongoing growth in the U.S., an acceleration in Western Europe and a recovery in the Mediterranean region, in addition to gains in the retail and wholesale channels.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the Italian eyewear maker saw net profit rise 30.6 percent to 138.6 million euros, or $173.2 million, compared with 111.2 million euros, or $150.1 million, in the same period last year.

Revenues increased to 1.78 billion euros, or $2.23 billion, up 17 percent from 1.52 billion euros, or $2.05 billion in the third quarter last year.


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Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

“We are confident that our balanced business model and sales momentum constitute an excellent base as we head toward the end of 2012 and will allow us to take advantage of future opportunities,” said chief executive officer Andrea Guerra.

Luxottica owns the Oakley and Ray-Ban labels and holds eyewear licenses with brands such as Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Tiffany and Versace.

In the period, operating profit gained 26.1 percent to 248.9 million euros, or $311.1 million.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, rose 24 percent to 342.1 million euros, or $427.6 million.

The group’s wholesale division showed a 16.5 percent growth, with sales of 646.8 million euros, or $808.5 million. Boosted by its LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut chains, retail sales climbed 17.3 percent to 1.13 billion euros, or $1.41 billion.

Strict control over working capital during the third quarter enabled Luxottica to accrue a record positive free cash flow of  271 million euros, or $338.7 million. This  allowed the group to cut its debt to 1.88 billion euros, or $2.35 billion, as of Sept. 30.  At the end of 2011, debt stood at 2.03 billion, or $2.82 billion.
On Thursday, Luxottica shares rose 1.64 percent to 28.52 euros, or $38.77 at current exchange.