Fielmann says it met it expectations for the first half of 2010 with a 1 percent increase in unit sales to 3.1 million pairs of eyeglasses, compared with a 3 percent drop in the German optical retail market. By value, the leading German optical retailer's consolidated sales rose by 4.9 percent to €487.4 million. Both pre-tax and after-tax profits increased by 8.3 percent, to €78.2 million and €55.0 million, respectively. Operating profit (Ebit) grew by 11.3 percent to €77.7 million.

For the second quarter alone, Fielmann's consolidate sales grew by 5.1 percent to €250.3 million. High-quality varifocal lenses are increasingly popular, and Fielmann saw a 7 percent increase in the share attributable to them. Pre-tax profit grew by 5.6 percent to €41.3 million, while profit after taxes went up by 5.1 percent to 29.1 million.

By geographic region, first-half sales in Germany rose by 4.2 percent to €409.8 million. Switzerland saw the biggest increase at 8.9 percent to €56.3 million. Austria's sales rose by 5.6 percent to €26.5 million, and other areas crept up by 3.2 percent to €12.8 million. Germany's pre-tax profits were up by 6.7 percent to €65.1 million. Switzerland had a more modest 2.0 percent increase to €10.1 million, while Austria's pre-tax jumped by 60.9 percent to €3.7 million. The loss before taxes in other regions remained flat at €600,000.

As of June 30, Fielmann had 649 stores, up from 631 at the same time in 2009. The company employed 13,200 workers, 2,337 of them trainees.

Fielmann continues to feel that it will improve its market position as tough economic times lead customers to seek high quality at reasonable prices. For the full fiscal year, unit sales, revenues and earnings should all increase over last year's figures. The company still plans to open a total of 20 new stores in 2010.

Meanwhile, company officials confirm a report that Günther Fielmann, the 70-year-old patriarch of the German optical retail empire that bears his name, is planning to gradually transfer his responsibilities to his 21-year-old son Marc, who is studying at the London School of Economics, at some point in the future. Fielmann has reinforced its middle management lately to prepare for the succession and protect the company from possible turbulence.