Marchon Eyewear continues to boost its management and to fine-tune internal processes. Mark Ginsberg, who previously worked at Fossil for Armani, Burberry and other designer watches, has recently joined Marchon's team in the new position of managing director of designer brands. Another company executive, David Chute, will be in charge of the more technical and sports brands, such as Nike and Flexon. Both executives report to the group's CEO, Al Berg, and to the new chief operating officer, Rich Martin, who worked previously for Calvin Klein.

Marchon licenses big designer labels such as Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, and the company appears eager to add others to its portfolio. The US company prides itself on maintaining close relations with the fashion brands it licenses. While getting constant input on what sells in the various markets, it maintains individual design teams to help develop the different lines, using special tools for communication with the fashion houses and with the factories, including 3-D computer-aided design instruments. It recently expanded its prototyping facilities in Italy.

Meanwhile, Marchon continues to fine-tune its new supply chain management systems. Warehousing functions have been centralized all over Europe, with the exception of Italy, and the company plans to establish next year direct links via intranet with European key accounts, similarly to what it does already in the USA. Its new SAP software has been made to interface with the company's proprietary invoicing and warehousing system, and the next step will be its application to production planning.

The capacity utilization of Marchon's joint venture factory in China, which handles metal frames, including models with the company's proprietary memory metal technology, has been increased from 50 to 100 percent. That's about 90,000 frames per month, or less than 15 percent of the group's total requirements.

Marchon is performing relatively well in spite of difficult economic conditions, particularly in the USA where the market reportedly fell by 5 percent in the 1st half of this year, with strong price pressure on smaller players who complain about delayed payment schedules and other problems.

The company's sales underwent a certain rebound in September and October and they should end up flat or slightly higher for the entire year at $320-330 million. Its sales have grown by about 50 percent in Spain, where Marchon has taken over the distribution of Calvin Klein eyewear from Indo. Good sales scores have been recorded in some other markets such as the Benelux countries, but they have been flat in Italy.