Sunglass Hut, Luxottica's global sunglass retail chain, is expected to raise its comparable sales by 12-14 percent this year compared with 7.4 percent in 2014, company officials said. The banner's overall sales rose by 13.5 percent last year, the fifth year of double-digit growth in a row.
The chain opened over 250 new stores in 2014. Over 280 new openings are planned for this year with a focus on Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Spain. Sunglass Hut will enter the Chinese market this year, ending it with more than 30 stores in the country.
Luxottica wants to have nearly 3,500 Sunglass Hut stores in operation at the end of 2015 and 4,000 by the end of 2016. The banner will bolster e-commerce to 5-10 percent of its global sales by 2017. Luxottica will renovate about 350 Sunglass Hut stores in 2015, the same as last year.
Meanwhile, LensCrafters, Luxottica's leading optical retail chain in U.S., is expected to continue boosting its sales growth in 2015, with same-store sales forecast to rise by 3-4 percent for the year, up from 1.8 percent in 2014. The chain registered a 1.8 percent drop in comparable sales in the first quarter of 2014 but managed to improve its performance continuously in the following quarters, clocking a 6.3 percent hike in the fourth quarter.
Luxottica will invest $100 million in LensCrafters stores and other optical retail activities in North America in 2015. Considering that the LensCrafters fleet of stores is “very outdated,” it aims to renew it completely over the next five to six years. It plans to close some stores in class C and D malls, where traffic has declined significantly, and open over 200 stores in more appealing locations during the period.
The group said that it has terminated the downsizing of the Sears Optical banner, where comparable store sales were positive in 2014 after falling by 10 percent in 2013. Target Optical stores posted their fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth in same-store sales. The Target chain has authorized Luxottica for the first time to modify its existing stores in order to open new optical shops, and this will lead to the opening of 35 locations this year.
Luxottica remains committed to making Pearle Vision the “best and strongest” network of franchised opticians in America. The network currently has about 600 stores, of which 60 percent are franchisees and the rest corporate stores.
Luxottica sold 1.4 million frames online in 2014, generating almost $200 million in revenues. Ray-Ban's e-commerce business doubled last year and Sunglass Hut did nearly as well.