Luxottica anticipates that its automatic stock replenishment system, STARS, will manage 15 percent of its wholesale revenues by 2018, up from 8-9 percent currently. In Southeast Asia, the percentage is expected to reach 20 percent over the period.

After adding 2,300 third-party retail doors to the program in 2015, STARS has been adopted to supply about 6,300 stores around the world, some 1,000 of them in Italy. About 500 doors are estimated to have joined STARS in the first quarter of 2016, mainly in Europe. The group expects to aggressively roll out the STARS system this year in North America, Asia and Brazil. It is negotiating its first STARS contract in Brazil. The first stores to implement the program in China went on stream about a month ago.

The STAR program will undergo a radical change, allowing it to include promotions. It will also involve a more dynamic marketing strategy, in line with a strategy applied at Sunglass Hut. A pilot project is being run at four or five clients to test the concept.

The company disclosed that its digitalization efforts have led to 25 percent of reorders being made by wholesale customers directly via iPad, thus entering directly the supply planning system without going through a sales representative. Luxottica plans to continue the digitalization process, estimating that ultimately 50,000-70,000 of the 150,000 third-party stores that are selling its products could be connected to the group's information technology platform, while smaller accounts will continue to be covered by sales agents. The group noted that STARS is open to e-commerce players and that two e-tailers, one in the Far East and one in Italy, are already members of the program.