NEW YORK — Profits at sunglass maker Oakley Inc. shot up nearly fourfold in the first quarter ended March 31, to $5.5 million, or 8 cents a share, from $1.4 million, or 2 cents, a year ago.
Sales climbed 29.5 percent to $63.1 million from $48.7 million. Units sold increased 18.8 percent to 959,649 from 807,979.
Domestic sales ran ahead 17.8 percent to $33.6 million and sales to specialty accounts increased 45 percent.
This happened despite a 20 percent decline in sales to its largest customer, Sunglass Hut, as that chain tightened its overall inventories.
International sales soared 45.9 percent to $29.4 million, fueled by significant gains in Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Japan and the rest of Asia.
Oakley chairman and chief executive Jim Jannard said eyewear continued to be the “primarily driver” of revenue growth, but he expected positive contributions from footwear with a new fall launch. The company’s footwear group lost $164,000 in the quarter compared with a $1 million loss a year ago.
“Our team’s successful execution of new product releases, coupled with the benefits of our strategic advertising campaign, positions us to capitalize on the upcoming summer season,” Jannard said.
Chief operating officer Link Newcomb noted that backlogs surged to $22.4 million from $6 million a year ago as a result of “very positive reactions” by retailers to its fall apparel, ski goggles and footwear, along with efforts to secure orders earlier than last year.
He said prescription eyewear showed a 184 percent increase, but cautioned that overall sales growth for the Foothill Ranch, Calif., firm would likely slow.
“While we remain very optimistic about new sunglass styles scheduled for launch this summer, we would encourage investors to anticipate more moderate sunglass sales growth rates, in the U.S. and internationally, in the coming quarters,” said Newcomb.