Luxottica has announced a prestigious 10-year license with Tiffany, the famous 169-year-old American retailer of fine jewelry, providing for the design, manufacturing and worldwide distribution of exclusive ophthalmic and sun collections under the Tiffany & Co name. The move marks Tiffany's entrance into the eyewear market, after signing timepieces, tableware and, most recently, perfumes. It confirms Luxottica's focus on the higher end of the market at a time when this segment is developing very fast.
Some other jewelers, including Cartier and Bvlgari, which is licensed by Luxottica as well, have put their names on eyewear for many years. Most of the items from the Tiffany & Co collection will be priced between $220 and $500, but there will be also special models retailing for between $1,000 and $10,000. The first styles are expected to be launched by Luxottica in early 2008. Revenues from the line should eventually reach at least €50 million annually.
The eyewear will be available at Tiffany's stores, whose number has doubled to 164 over the last ten years, and at other selected retail locations in North America, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and in key Middle East markets. That will include Luxottica's own stores. Over time, the brand will be sold in additional markets and through new distribution channels.
Meanwhile Luxottica's chief executive, Andrea Guerra, has been quoted by the Italian press as saying that the company will make the acquisition of another retail chain within the next two months, after its four recent back-to-back takeovers in China, the USA and Canada. There is no indication of where it will hit this time, but there is a strong suspicion that it will be in the Far East. In a newspaper interview, Guerra reiterated the fact that the group intends to expand in the Chinese optical market, where it has 280 stores, through both organic and external growth. Luxottica also plans to roll out its Sunglass Hut banner in the Far East, with a special focus on Hong Kong and Macao.