The Sun Hing group has obtained the distribution rights for Levi's eyewear in Asia. The Chinese group, which is already the licensed distributor for Celine Dion, Hallmark, Cour Carré and Jill Stuart, reports a 1 percent sales decline for the 6 months ended last Sept. 30 to HK$236.6 million (€23.8m?US$30.5m), but the turnover grew then by 14 percent in the following two months. The ODM business improved by 2 percent to HK$219 million in the 6-month period, but branded distribution fell by 31 percent to HK$17 million. The ODM business in the USA fell by 22 percent, but in Europe it rose 55 percent to represent 47 percent of the total. Net profit fell by 13 percent to HK$43.2 million (€4.3m-US$5.6m).

The average price of a pair of spectacles in the UK grew by 13.7 percent to £144.52 (e210.06-$260.96) in the 12 months ended March 31, 2003, according to an annual survey by FODO, the national opticians' association. The National Health Service paid for all or part of the cost of 23 percent of the glasses, up from 16 percent in the previous year. Nearly 17 million sight tests were conducted through the UK during the period, and the average fee for a private examination dropped slightly to £19.45 (e28.27-$35.03).