A surge in sales for Allison during the quarter marked a turnaround for the Italian eyewear producer, boosting the results of its parent company, IT Holding, which has publicly denied a rumor that it plans to sell this division. Allison is thus in a position to enlarge its portfolio of brands, and is reportedly about to announce a major new license.

After a difficult 2003, Allison's sales grew by 40 percent in the 1st quarter 2004 to €21.6 million, representing more than 10 percent of IT Holding's total revenues. Allison maintains that its positive results can be attributed in part to its major advertising spend while times were difficult. The company predicts that the positive trend will continue through the coming months, thanks in part to its new brand, John Richmond, and to its new joint venture in the USA with Paul Diaz, former president of Marcolin USA. The new alliance aims to boost sales in the USA, where Allison currently earns only 3 percent of its revenues.

At €210.3 million, the group's sales for the quarter posted a 9 percent increase year-on-year, which would have been 14 percent on a same-structure and same-currency basis, the group having sold the perfume division two months ago, and spun off Romeo Gigli. Net income grew by 30.4 percent to €43 million.