Sales are growing again for Giorgio Fedon & Figli after their poor performance in recent years. Italy's leading producer of eyewear cases, which has been diversifying into leathergoods, closed its 2014 fiscal year with revenues up by 3.6 percent to €62.6 million.
However, a look at the company's profitability tells another story. The gross profit fell by 32.4 percent to €2.3 million, while operating margin before amortization (Ebitda) fell from 8 to 6 percent of sales, and net profit dropped by 33 percent to €1.3 million. This compares with a net profit of €2.4 million two years ago. Fedon has been quoted on the Paris stock exchange since 1998 and on the alternative Italian market, AIM, since last Dec. 18.
The group's chairman, Callisto Fedon, has been battling to cope with the crisis on the domestic market and the aggressiveness of its Asian competitors – mainly Chinese – by investing in technology and quality, diversifying production and raising money on the financial markets. The sales turnaround would seem to be the first sigs of the success of these measures.
The company diversified some time ago into leathergoods and office accessories, using its know-how from the use of leather in its core business. This side of the business grew by 15 percent last year, but remained under 10 percent of the total revenues with sales of €4.9 million. Fedon 1919 leathergoods are mainly sold through the group's 11 concept stores and five shop-in-shops in Italy and elsewhere.
Fedon's core business is supplying eyewear cases to the major eyewear producers, and represents 81 percent of the group's turnover, but the company has started addressing also individual opticians and chains, a business that generated €8 million in retail sales last year, up by 9.2 percent. And recently the group launched a line of men's and women's sunglasses with details in leather that benefit from the prestige of the Made in Italy label. The line will be sold exclusively in Fedon's concept stores.