FGX International has set its sights on generating revenue through rose-colored glasses. The company designs nonprescription reading glasses and sunglasses and distributes them to drugstores, supermarkets, department stores, and mass merchandisers (such as Wal-Mart, CVS) in the US and abroad. Its brand names include FosterGrant, Magnivision, Gargoyles, Anarchy, Angel, and newly-acquired Stylemark. It also sells sunglasses through licensing agreements under the Body Glove, C9 by Champion, and Ironman labels. In 2009 the company exited the costume jewelry niche to focus on its core eyewear business. FGX International was acquired by ophthalmic products maker Essilor International in early 2010.
Essilor paid nearly $20 per share of FGX, amounting to about $575 million (including some $115 million in debt). Essilor, which has largely focused on the prescription eyewear business, sees FGX as an outlet for strengthening its presence in the nonprescription market. In turn, FGX looks to boost its position throughout Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.
Before selling itself, FGX focused on building up its eyewear business through acquisitions. In 2009 the company bought New York-based designer Corinne McCormack to strengthen its position as a marketer of more fashion-forward eyewear. The deal was worth about $1.5 million in cash and included e-commerce firm Eye-Bar. Corinne McCormack makes nonprescription readers and sunglasses that are sold in more than 2,000 specialty and department stores, such as Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor. To further strengthen its core eyewear business, FGX closed down its costume jewelry unit, which made pieces under the Club Med name, and sold the unit's assets for about $1 million in 2009. The company then shuttered a warehouse and distribution center in California in 2010.
FGX has kept its eye on growth opportunities while keeping operational expenses in check. With more than half of its revenue generated from sales of nonprescription glasses and having achieved a 40% market share in this eyewear category, FGX is looking to grow that segment as its target customer ages and needs reading glasses. To that end, in late 2011 FGX acquired Stylemark, a leading US distributor of nonprescription reading glasses and sunglasses based in Florida. Stylemark's portfolio of licensed brands includes Dockers, Reebok, Hello Kitty, and several Disney properties. The purchase adds new customers to FGX's target demographic of 18- to 49-year-old market of men and women.
To keep costs down, the company uses Asian contract manufacturers to make its products. The company's strength in nonprescription eyewear joins with Essilor's expertise in prescription eyewear, resulting in a company that looks both ways.
The company's international customers account for about 15% of sales. To better serve them, FGX operates offices in Canada, the UK, and Mexico. – less
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