Marchon, the biggest American supplier of prescription frames and sunglasses and one of the largest ones in the world, continues to stay out of the retail sector, but it has bought Office Mate Software Solutions, boosting a computer division which is now the largest supplier of dedicated software for U.S. independent opticians, serving some 9,000 locations.
The company, which uses a sophisticated SAP-based supply chain management system for its own needs, previously acquired RLI Systems, another optical-related software house that previously belonged to Maui Jim. Marchon's software solutions for the sector cover diverse applications in such areas as practice management, eye examinations and managed vision care.
Last October Marchon had appointed a new chief operating officer, Martin Fox, with experience at Citibank and other important companies. The company has now appointed another new executive, Pierre Bessez, to the new position of senior vice president of fashion brands, taking on some of the multiple responsibilities of Al Berg, chief executive of Marchon. Bessez, who is French, has been in the fashion business for 25 years, working for such companies as Yves Saint Lauren, Daniel Hechter and Christian Dior. He has been division president of Burberry and licensing manager of Stetson.
Marchon recently signed a new global licensing deal with Sean John, the fashion label of Sean ?P.Diddy?Combs, a well-known American music producer who also signs apparel and fragrances, addressing young people. The first line of sunglasses will be available for next Fall.
The company is enjoying a strong recovery after a year in which its sales didn't quite reach the $400 million target. They grew by 21 percent in the 1st quarter of 2006, with a strong business under the Fendi brand name, good reorders of sunglasses and increases for all the brands in all the countries. The management is targeting now a sales increase of about 10 percent for the full year.