Coach Inc. and Luxottica Group SpA have signed an agreement for the Italian eyewear company to design, manufacture and distribute sun and prescription eyewear for the fashion brand starting in January 2012.

This story first appeared in the October 6, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Marchon Eyewear has produced Coach optical and sunglass frames since 2002.

“As Coach continues to grow globally and our international awareness increases, we believe Luxottica, with its worldwide distribution, international market expertise and strong local relationships will be an excellent partner in the eyewear category,” said Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive officer of Coach.

Luxottica ceo Andrea Guerra, citing Luxottica’s 270 stores in China, said the company is “looking to this part of the world as a very important piece of the market for the future.”

Guerra said Coach’s position in the U.S. market was attractive to Luxottica. “The U.S. eyewear luxury market is still quite small…[Coach] knows consumers in the U.S. and knows how to be appealing…we think that this market can be much bigger.”

The multiyear deal, which includes renewal options, will result in four collections annually produced under the Coach, Coach Poppy and Reed Krakoff labels. The frames will retail in 3,000 stores in the U.S. and 1,500 additional doors worldwide, including Coach boutiques and Luxottica retail units such as Sunglass Hut, Ilori and LensCrafters.

Coach has spent much of 2010 focused on expansion of the brand in Asia. In January, a Coach flagship opened in Shanghai. By the end of this year the company will have 160 locations in Japan and 15 additional locations in China.

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