Luxottica expects its home brands Ray-Ban and Oakley to each boost sales by 8-10 percent this year. The company noted that Oakley is a $1 billion brand in the U.S., the same size as Ray-Ban, but remains “very underdeveloped” in the rest of the world.
While brand awareness for Oakley is at 80 percent in the U.S., it falls to the 50s in Europe and the 30s in emerging markets. According to well-informed sources, Oakley's sales rose by a high single digit in Europe last year, with stronger growth in the optical segment than in sports eyewear and sunglasses, and they generated high profit margins. At Oakley's store in the Covent Garden district of London, sales went up by 11 percent after the expansion of its optical space.
“Building the awareness, building that brand, is a major opportunity for us,” said Adil Mehboob-Khan, the newly minted joint chief executive of Luxottica. He added that the brand's identity is “anchored in performance” and that Oakley will focus more on that aspect as well as “go a little bit younger.”
The group expressed satisfaction about the operation of Oakley's Californian plant in Foothill Ranch. It is transforming the site to focus on the manufacturing of injected, high-performance Oakley products and investing largely in fast-injected production lines. It added that it will give “a lot of priority” this year to the distribution and availability of the brand at both wholesale and retail.
Mehboob-Khan said that the stream of new production introductions is going to be significantly higher for Oakley this year than in the past. Sales and orders have been very encouraging in the first two months of this year, he added.