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Sunglass family business sees strong growth

By Rashmi Kumar

Luxottica, the world’s biggest eyewear group which is majority owned by the Del Vecchio family, announced record second-quarter results, buoyed by strong global demand for luxury brands.

The Milan-based company said on 25 July that its sales for the second quarter rose by almost 2.5% to €1.63 billion, up from €1.59 billion for the same period in 2010.

Luxottica, which makes eyewear under license for a number of luxury brands, attributed its best result so far to rising demand for luxury goods, including products of family-controlled Prada and Chanel.

The maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses also saw a rise in its net profits to €162 million from €150 million the year before.

Non-family chief executive Andrea Guerra said in a statement: “During the period we were able to grow significantly in key markets such as India, China, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey, countries where we are building a strong Luxottica presence. Performance was also excellent in Europe, the Middle East, south-east Asia and Latin America, where we have continued to invest in our future and are opening new stores.”

Luxottica was founded in 1961 by Leonardo Del Vecchio, who is still chairman of the company. The 76-year-old is Italy’s second richest man with a fortune of around $11 billion, according to Forbes. The Del Vecchio family owns 66.98% of the business through a holding company called Delfin.

Del Vecchio’s son Claudio was considered by those close to the company as heir apparent to the family empire, joining the group in 1978 and becoming director in 1985. He ran the US operations for Luxottica but is best known for buying and revamping American clothing retailer Brooks Brothers, where he currently serves as chairman and chief executive.

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