Fielmann continued to make progress in the first quarter of 2015, raising its consolidated sales by 3.5 percent to €317.1 million from the relatively high level of the year-earlier period, with growth of 2.9 percent on a same-store basis. Net income increased by 6.0 percent to €44.5 million. The supervisory board will recommend a 10.3 percent increase in the annual dividend to €1.60 a share at the annual meeting on July 9.

The number of glasses sold increased to 1.87 million pairs from 1.85 million in the year-ago period. Sales grew in the all the three major markets in which the leading German optical retailer operates, but most of all in Switzerland, where sales went up by 16.5 percent to €42.4 million in euros, aided by the strength of the national currency and the opening of four new stores in the country. Pre-tax earnings grew in Germany but dropped in Austria and Switzerland. They turned around to a positive level of €600,000 in Poland and other countries.

The total number of stores in the group reached 689 at the end of the period, up from 679 a year earlier. Further openings are expected in the course of this year.

In presenting its annual report for 2014, the group's major shareholder and chairman of its management board, Günther Fielmann, said he will continue to run it. He is now 75 years old. His son Marc, who is running a project for the sale of of eyewear over the internet in Germany, is still only 25. His father said that his company doesn't see any need yet to sell online in the foreseeable future, although it has the power to do so if necessary.

Fielmann Consolidated Income Statement

('000 Euros), Quarter Ended March 31

2015

2014

% Change

Germany

261.8XX

256.9XX

1,9

Switzerland

42.4XX

36.4XX

16,5

Austria

18.1XX

17.8XX

1,7

Others

7.0XX

7.2XX

-2,8

Total Sales

317,100

306,340

3,5

Other Operating Income

8,671

1,958

342,8

Cost of Goods

62,573

62,681

-0,2

Personnel Costs

130,456

120,716

8,1

Depreciation

9,224

8,657

6,5

Other Operating Expenses

66,547

62,977

5,7

Net Interest

-20

191

-

Minority Interest

1,134

1,559

-27,3

Tax

18,262

16,479

10,8

NET

43,360

40,905

6,0

Earnings per Share (Diluted)

0,52

0,49

6,1

On the other hand, the structure of the management board has changed, with Bastian Körber being appointed as one of its members, responsible for sales. He has been head of sales at a lower level of the management for the past two years. Stefan Thies will take over responsibilities for human resources and labor relations, in addition to his functions in the areas of IT and controlling. Fielmann himself, who previously handled also sales and human resources, will remain in charge of corporate strategy, marketing and expansion.