MILAN — Safilo SpA and Kate Spade New York announced the anticipated renewal of their global eyewear licensing agreement for both sunglasses and optical collections, which will now run until June 30, 2026.

The relationship with Safilo dates back to 2000 and, in a phone call from trade show Vision Expo, Safilo’s chief executive officer Angelo Trocchia underscored precisely the importance of building “close relations year after year” and having a design studio in New York and a dedicated team. “These are key elements to the success” of a licensing agreement, he observed. The Kate Spade New York eyewear collections “have consistently grown at a double-digit pace, confirmed last year, as well,” said the executive, who joined Safilo in April 2018. “It does not happen often to see such a constant growth in the eyewear sector,” he contended. The brand now accounts for between 6 and 7 percent of total Safilo revenues.

Safilo produces and distributes eyewear under license for brands including FendiDior and Jimmy Choo and last year renewed licenses with brands such as Banana Republic, Fossil, Havaianas and Tommy Hilfiger, in addition to signing an agreement with Missoni and, most recently, with Levi’s. Safilo’s own brands include Smith, Polaroid and Carrera.

Trocchia said luxury will continue to play an important role in Safilo’s business, but the company is also looking at the premium contemporary market, “the one winking at luxury. We see it grow and it has great potential.” Safilo and Kate Spade are a perfect fit in this range and Trocchia admitted the company had “great expectations” from the license.

Geographic markets also match. “North America is an important market for both Safilo and Kate Spade while at the same time both are eyeing growth in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region — strategies and programs perfectly coincide.”

With Kate Spade, in 2019, Safilo will “aggressively” tackle the American market, as well as Europe, in particular the U.K. and Germany, and Italy, where “it’s a big surprise, but we see it performing really well.”

Trocchia also praised Kate Spade creative director Nicola Glass, who has “clearly positioned” and developed the line in an “univocal” way, “caring for and paying attention to women.”

“Eyewear is emotional.…A person often wears eyewear to express their style and mood. By renewing our Safilo partnership, given their rich heritage and expertise in the eyewear market, we look forward to continuing to provide our customers with exciting and innovative eyewear choices,” said Anna Bakst, ceo and brand president of Kate Spade New York.

As reported, Safilo cut its loss in 2018 and, commenting year-end results, Trocchia said he stood by the plan to return to profitability in 2020.

In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, adjusted net losses totaled 26.7 million euros, compared with an adjusted net loss of 47.1 million euros in 2017.

Cost saving helped improve Safilo’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which were up 15.5 percent to 47.5 million euros, compared to 41.1 million euros in 2017.

Confirming preliminary sales, 2018 revenues totaled 962.9 million euros, down 7 percent, compared with 1.03 billion euros in 2017, accelerating in the fourth quarter.

Trocchia underscored that the second half of 2018 was key for Safilo as it started to implement the 2020 plan and it secured a capital increase of 150 million euros and a new debt financing, focusing on clear priorities and shaping a new commercial organization in all key markets.

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