By  on January 24, 2012

MILAN — Italian eyewear giant Luxottica SpA on Tuesday celebrated the end of its 50th birthday year by reporting record sales in 2011, and said it sees “a wealth of opportunities…which will yield even further growth” in 2012.

Driven by continued growth in both its wholesale and retail channels — and by strong performances in the U.S. and in emerging markets like China, India, the Middle East, Brazil and Eastern Europe — the company said full-year revenues reached 6.22 billion euros, or $8.65 billion, up 9.9 percent at constant exchange rates in 2010.

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

Europe put in a “solid” performance despite the economic climate, Luxottica said, with sales growth in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. “Once again, Ray-Ban and Oakley sales performance was strong, and the premium and luxury brands grew steadily throughout the year,” the company added.

In the fourth quarter, turnover increased 11.2 percent, at constant exchange rates, to 1.51 billion euros, or $2.04 billion, boosted by an 8.7 percent gain in the wholesale channel and by a double-digit increase in retail, where Luxottica operates — among others — through its LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut units.

Boosting the wholesale channel in the fourth quarter were premium brands like Chanel, Tiffany and Persol.

Growth in the quarter was especially strong in the U.S., the company said, with turnover up more than 9 percent. Retail units LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut “recorded the best results for the holiday season” on a like-for-like basis, boosted by “special initiatives and focused promotions implemented during the period.” Luxottica didn’t issues sales breakdowns for each market.

In the statement, chief executive officer Andrea Guerra said the company “laid the foundation for lasting growth,” adding that “this trend is supported by our performance so far in 2012, both in terms of net sales and the orders in our portfolio.”

Luxottica said its wholesale division is benefiting from “the positive reception of the Coach eyewear collection” and pointed to strength in the retail channel, expected to benefit from continued consumer confidence in the U.S. and from sales at Sunglass Hut, which recorded “exceptional” results in the fourth quarter.

As part of its push into Latin America last year, Luxottica acquired eyewear retailer GMO and established Sunglass Hut in Mexico. Also Luxottica acquired producer and retailer Grupo Tecnol in Brazil, a market Guerra said “represents one of the most significant opportunities for our business worldwide.”

The company will issue full financial results on Feb. 28.

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