Last year, De Rigo experienced a 10 percent dip in wholesale revenues to €160 million due the economic crisis and adverse currency fluctuations, but aims to return to the 2008 level of €178 million as soon as this year.
The group's retail revenues were only slightly lower on a comparable basis, hit by a 3 percent drop in the sales of its Spanish chain, General Optica, the company said without releasing its figures. Following the merger of its U.K. chain Dollond & Aitchison with Boots Opticians, the Italian eyewear company deconsolidated the minority stake it has in the new business from its 2009 results.
In 2009, the company's wholesale revenues suffered the most in East Europe, Russia and South Korea, where the group does not have a direct presence. In areas where the group is present with distribution subsidiaries, such as Western Europe and Japan, the group suffered less thanks to marketing and promotion actions.
The company's luxury brands suffered from a fall in demand while its house brands Police, Lozza and Sting increased sales. De Rigo intends to bolster its advertising budget for house brands by more than 30 percent, the bulk going to Police. It has turned into a «lifestyle» brand generating 60 percent of revenues with eyewear and 40 percent with licensed products such as watches, jewelry and apparel.
Meanwhile De Rigo has signed a five-year license agreement with Blufin for the brands Blumarine and Blugirl. The brands were previous held by Visibilia, which went into liquidation, and generate annual wholesale sales of about €10 million.
Blumarine is the prime brand and targets a 30-50-year-old female client with an entry price around €180 per pair. Blugirl is for 20-30-year-olds and starts at around €140-150 per pair.
De Rigo plants will set up a sales team to start selling a preliminary collection of Blumarine glasses from May. In July, the group will present an extended Blumarine collection of 12 prescription models and 12 sunglasses. The complete collection is scheduled to be available in the stores in November. Blugirl models will be on the market in 2011.
One of the group's secondary brands will be dropped to make room for the new collections.
The management is satisfied with the group's portfolio of licenses. Givenchy, which was renewed until 2015, is a worldwide brand, while Ermenegildo Zegna is strong in China and the U.S.; Chopard has a strong presence in the Middle East, Russia and Japan; Escada is a strong brand in German-language countries and Russia; Furla, Celine and Loewe perform well in Japan and Asia.