Italy's largest integrated optical retailing chain is back in the black, with net profit of €1 million for the fiscal year ended last Sept. 30, compared with a loss of €1.4 million year in the previous year. It was good score, considering that the group also invested €11.5 million during the 12-month period to finance acquisitions and the renovation of its outlets. Turnover amounted to €107.6 million, which was 10 percent more than in 2004, with sales up by 3.5 percent on a same-store basis.

The group ended the financial year with 44 more stores than one year earlier, including 19 corners in supermarkets or hypermarkets, making a total of 264 sales outlets - 191 directly-managed and 69 in franchising. The aggregate surface of the 200 stores operating under the Salmoiraghi banner increased by 6.2 percent, and their sales grew by 6 percent to €91 million. Of these, 155 are directly owned and 45 are franchises. The low-priced Vista Si chain gained 21 percent in surface area, increasing to 36 directly-owned outlets and 69 franchises. They generated 41 percent more revenues year on year, reaching a turnover of €16.6 million.

The operating income before amortization and depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to 14.6 percent of revenues for the group as a whole. Income before interest and tax (EBIT) averaged out at 6.8 percent, with margins at 6.5 percent for Salmoiraghi and 9.5 percent for Vista Si. Dino Tabacchi, the group's chairman, is targeting revenues of €120 million for the current financial year, with the EBITDA margin growing to 20 percent.

Salmoiraghi announced a charity before Christmas. For each complete new pair of glasses sold until next Feb. 28, the chain will make a donation toward the cost of establishing a new eye care center that is already under construction in Lima, Peru. Five million inhabitants have no access to low-cost eye care in the Peruvian capital, which has only one eye doctor per 33,000 inhabitants.