De Rigo reported today an 8.3 percent increase in consolidated sales to e143 million for the quarter ended March 31, but gave no profit figures yet. Total unit deliveries of frames and sunglasses rose by 5.8 percent to 1,626,000. Sales through EID, the joint venture with Prada, were up 41 percent to e8.6 million, and other wholesale and distribution revenues increased by 21.3 percent toee45.6 million, but the group's retail sales rose by only 3.3 percent to e94.4 million.

The Dollond & Aitchison chain of 233 company-owned optical shops in the UK was the weak spot in the quarter. Its sales contribution dropped by 1.3 percent to e62.2 million in the quarter against a strong quarter a year ago, with decreases of 3.9 percent in pounds sterling and 4.4 percent on a same-store, same-day basis. On the other hand, D&A's franchisees, which operate 149 other stores, raised their sales by about 0.5 percent in pounds. De Rigo's Spanish retail company, General Optica, raised its own sales by 13.4 percent to e32.2 million, with a same-store increase of 13.1 percent.

De Rigo's progress at wholesale reflects higher sales of premium-priced luxury designer brands, which nearly doubled in volume and value as compared to the year-ago period. Total European sales grew by 9.1 percent to e129.6 million. Sales in the Americas were unchanged at e4.2 million as higher US sales offset the problems in Argentina. The rest of the world was up 2.2 percent, thanks mainly to progress in Japan.