MILAN, Italy (BRAIN)—Oakley sales were up 7 percent in the first quarter of 2009, even as its parent company, Luxottica, faced a challenging period.
Oakley’s growth was led by its sun and prescription divisions, which saw double-digit growth in Europe, said Andrea Guerra, chief executive officer of Luxottica, during an earnings conference call with analysts on Thursday. Oakley saw positive sales growth in all geographic regions, particularly in Europe and the Americas. Oakley retail sales outpaced a challenged wholesale environment, Guerra said.
Oakley has had a strong start to spring and will introduce a new sports performance model called Jawbone in the next several days.
Feedback so far on Jawbone has been outstanding, Guerra said.
Net sales for Luxottica in the first quarter were down 6.2 percent at current exchange rates, from 1.39 billion euros in 2008 to 1.31 billion euros in the first three months of 2009.
The company's wholesale numbers were especially disappointing in the first quarter, Guerra said, declining 19 percent, from 619 million euros in 2008 to 501 million euros in 2009.
Luxottica plans to keep inventory levels 10 to 15 percent lower than a year ago to adjust to the changing retail environment and will trim its advertising budget by 10 percent this year, Guerra said.
Besides Oakley, Luxottica owns Ray-Ban, Revo, Vogue, Persol, Oliver Peoples and Arnette and licenses nearly a dozen other luxury eyewear brands.