MILAN — A strong euro-to-dollar exchange rate bit into Luxottica SpA’s fourth-quarter sales, but the company still managed to post double-digit growth for full-year 2006.

Sales rose 6.8 percent, to 1.11 billion euros, or $1.43 billion, for the three months ended Dec. 31. Excluding the effects of exchange rates, they would have grown 13.4 percent. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at the average exchange rate.

Full-year revenue rose 13 percent, to 4.67 billion euros, or $5.88 billion, and 13.8 percent at constant currency rates. The company said it expected to meet its previous 2006 target for earnings per share of between 0.93 euros, or $1.21, and 0.94 euros, or $1.22. Luxottica will release full-year profit figures and 2007 guidance on March 5.

Citing especially strong momentum for Ray-Ban and luxury branded eyewear, Luxottica said it continued to improve its penetration of North America and emerging markets, including mainland China.

Full-year retail sales grew 7.6 percent, to 3.29 billion euros, or $4.15 billion, and wholesale sales advanced 30.5 percent, to 1.71 billion euros, or $2.15 billion.

Luxottica said it was continuing to renovate, remodel and expand its retail network. Last year, the company revamped about 510 stores and acquired or opened 570 retail locations. This year, about 225 million euros, or $291.60 million, will be invested to remodel another 480 stores and open 500 sales points. The company said it was focusing North American efforts on its Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters chains.

“Turning to 2007, we are working on a highly focused plan that we expect should result in another strong year in both retail and wholesale,” Andrea Guerra, Luxottica’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Last month, Luxottica inked a new eyewear licensing deal with Tiffany & Co., rounding out a license portfolio that includes Bulgari, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Versace.

This story first appeared in the January 24, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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