Fielmann has reported a 3 percent increase in consolidated sales to e158.3 million for the 1st quarter ended March 31. In Germany, where it claims that the optical market declined by 2-3 percent in the period, its sales continued to grow at a rate of 2 percent on a comparable basis. Stronger sales increases were recorded in foreign countries such as Austria and Poland. Including external sales of lenses and the turnover of its franchisees, Fielmann's total sales grew by 2.7 percent to e194 million.

Both pre-tax and after-tax income rose by 4 percent. Pre-tax earnings grew to e18,721,000, reflecting in particular stable depreciation charges and 47.6 percent lower interest charges, and they could improve further as the group's personnel gets pared down in line with the slowdown in the market. Net income rose to e13,193,000, but earnings per share were up 20 percent to 65 cents. Sales and earnings are still expected to increase over the balance of this year.