By  on January 30, 2008

MILAN — Italian eyewear giant Luxottica Group SpA on Tuesday posted midsingle-digit growth in fourth-quarter and full-year sales after acquiring the Oakley brand last year.Luxottica's revenues in the three months through December rose 7.1 percent to 1.19 billion euros, or $1.72 billion at average exchange. For the full year, sales climbed 6.2 percent to 4.97 billion euros, or $6.81 billion.Both figures include 88 million euros, or $129 million, of Oakley's revenues in the last six weeks of 2007.Luxottica acquired the Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based Oakley Inc. for $2 billion in June and completed the merger in November. Luxottica, which has licensing deals with brands including Bulgari, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co. and Versace, also owns Ray-Ban.Luxottica chief executive Andrea Guerra described 2007 as "another exceptional year for our group" after the company hit its sales target. He also said last year was "especially significant" following the Oakley acquisition and the overhaul of a quarter of Luxottica's nearly 6,000-strong retail network."Today, our vertical integration model is much more efficient, we are stronger in all of our markets and our brand portfolio is richer and even more well-balanced in all of our target customer segments," Guerra said in a statement.Excluding Oakley, Luxottica's fourth-quarter wholesale revenues jumped 15.6 percent to 479 million euros, or $694 million. It made a similar leap for the full year, hitting almost 2 billion euros, or $2.74 billion, led by Ray-Ban's fifth consecutive year of double-digit sales growth, strong sales of luxury brands, and a 40 percent increase in business in emerging markets, Luxottica said.Retail sales were dented by the economic downturn in the U.S., where Luxottica has the majority of its stores. Fourth-quarter retail revenues fell 7.2 percent to 714 million euros, or $1 billion, and were down 1.7 percent at stores open at least a year. Full-year retail sales slipped 1.8 percent to 3.23 billion euros, or $4.43 billion, although they were up 1.2 percent at stores open in 2006.The retail numbers also exclude Oakley sales.Luxottica released the sales figures after the close of the Italian stock market on Tuesday. The share price closed up 4.4 percent to 18.20 euros, or $26.70, although it has dropped by more than 16 percent since the beginning of the year.Luxottica is slated to report full-year results on March 13 and will provide a detailed outlook for fiscal year 2008 on Feb. 7.

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