The world's largest chain of sunglass stores reports a 30 percent rise in operating earnings for the 3rd quarter ended Oct. 28 to $8.4 million, as sales increased by 10.6 percent to $146.2 million, with a whopping 7.5 percent gain on a comparable basis. Still, because of extraordinary items, Sunglass Hut reported a net loss of $2,599,000 in the quarter, up from $1,564,000 in the year-ago period.

Sales at the company's stores in Europe and Australasia enjoyed double-digit increases on a comparable basis during the quarter, although there was a slowdown in November. Its North American outlets generated increases in the high single digits, but stand-alone Watch Station stores suffered sales declines. Combination sunglass and watch stores continued to perform above average.

The results contributed to a net income of $20.2 million for the first 9 months of this year as compared to $25 million in the year-ago period on 3.8 percent higher sales of $502.8 million, including a 3.2 percent increase on a same-store basis. Sunglass Hut is anticipating a sales increase of 20-22 percent in the 4th quarter.