A look at Essilor's various divisions in one of the charts in this issue shows a relatively good performance in all of them during the first quarter except in Sunglasses & Readers, whose sales went up by only 1.7 percent on a currency-neutral basis, reaching €200 million. Strong increases in Europe and China were offset by a lackluster performance in the U.S., where a late start of the sunwear season affected Costa's sales and where FGX's sales compared with a very strong first quarter in 2018.
Lenses & Optical Instruments fared much better, rising by 4.6 percent at constant exchange rates and by 3.6 percent excluding acquisitions. Online sales of these products continued to grow at a double-digit rate. Fast-growing countries contributed comparable growth of nearly 10 percent, led by China and Latin America. Europe performed better than North America.
In contrast with its previous reporting practice, Essilor is now including all of Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey into its European sales, like Luxottica. This part of Europe delivered double-digit growth during the period. In Western Europe, France and the U.K. performed particularly well, with sales in the U.K. rising at a double-digit rate with the assistance of e-commerce.
Essilor's sales of Equipment went up by 5.0 percent on an organic basis, with surfacing solutions growing more than coating machines. The company said it experience particularly strong demand for its new VFT-Orbit 2 digital generator, the Multi-Flex polisher and its Alloy Replacement Technology for blocking. The order book is at a good level, it added.