The large Italian eyewear group, which established its own Japanese sales subsidiary last year, continues to expand its own direct sales network. Safilo's new Portuguese sales office started up at the beginning of April. It will be managed from the company's Spanish sales subsidiary in Madrid, which is centralizing all the services for the Iberian peninsula.

Safilo already has subsidiaries in France, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Brazil and large parts of Latin America and the Far East.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Marangon has left as Safilo's administrative and financial manger after 8 years with the firm. Marangon has moved to Milan to join a firm in the so-called "new economy." A successor has not been named yet.

Just before the Vision Expo fair in New York earlier this month, Safilo USA announced an eyewear licensing agreement with Kate Spade, a US designer of handbags which has been in business since 1993. Due to be launched in the USA for Spring 2001, Safilo's collection after her name will include women's opthamic frames and sunglasses.