Giorgio Fedon & Figli, the world's leading producer of eyewear cases, quoted on stock exchanges in Italy and France, recorded sales of €17.2 million in the first quarter 2016, down by 5.5 percent year-on-year. That means a shortfall of a million euros in revenues due to a 10.3 percent drop in purchases of its eyewear cases by eyewear producers, both large and small.

Revenues for this specific sector - the group's core business - amounted to €13,390,000, or €1,533,000 less than a year ago - but this loss was partly offset by the group's other business sectors, which were all positive but still represented only 22 percent of the total turnover.

Fedon attributes the slowdown in its traditional business to an exceptional factor. Between January and March 2015, several major clients concentrated their orders to cover their requirements for several months of production, resulting in a significant increase for that particular quarter of last year.

The group's operating profit before amortization (Ebitda) for the first quarter of 2016 amounted to €944,000, equivalent to 5.5 percent of turnover, just down from the €966,000 generated for the same period the previous year. Operating earnings after amortization (Ebit) declined to €517,000 from €615,000. Net debt at the end of March 2016 grew slightly to €5.7 million.

It was a different story for the group's other product sectors. Its wholesale business - sales of eyewear cases to optical shops and leather accessories to leathergoods stores - was up by 6 percent year on year. First-quarter retail sales were up by a full 57 percent, partly due to new openings of Fedon outlets in airports and major railway stations, taking the total number of doors to 16. Same-store sales grew by close to 8 percent.

The group is continuing its diversification strategy, and just over a year after showcasing its first collection of eyewear under its own name at the 2015 edition of the Mido show, its chairman, Callisto Fedon, claims that the results have outdone expectations.

Fedon is investing in its retail business, with three new openings that will take the number of stores up to 19. A new opening in the Sicily Outlet Village at Agira in the province of Enna at the end of May will be followed by a new store in Hong Kong's airport and one in the Turin's main railway station.