If you need glasses, Luxottica Retail has you in its sights. The retail arm of Italian eyewear giant Luxottica Group, Luxottica Retail is one of the world's leading operators of optical stores. The company has more than 6,200 locations in North America, Europe, China, the Asia/Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa. Its chains include LensCrafters, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Pearle Vision, and Sunglass Hut, as well as more than 1,200 in-store businesses Sears Optical and Target Optical. About 5,675 of Luxottica Retail's stores are company-owned; the rest are franchised. In addition, Luxottica Retail oversees a leading US managed vision care plan, EyeMed Vision Care, which serves some 3,400 corporations.
With its budget-to-luxe brand portfolio, Luxottica Retail contributes more than 60% of company sales for its vertically-integrated parent. (Luxottica Group designs, manufactures, wholesales, and retails eyewear worldwide.) The global financial crisis has taken a toll on sales and profits of the retail operation. While sales were essentially flat in 2009 vs. 2008, operating income declined notably. In 2009 the company trimmed its store count in North America and Europe, while continuing to grow in China and the Asia-Pacific Region.
In North America -- the world's largest eyewear market -- Luxottica Retail has got the retail market covered, with locations offering budget eyewear in about 865 Sears Optical and 335 Target Optical stores to pricier Oliver Peoples and ILORI luxury outlets. Its LensCrafters chain is North America's largest optical retailer (based on sales) with about 955 stores. Together, LensCrafters and Pearl Vision (about 765 locations) cater to the mid- to high-end market with stores found mainly in high-traffic shopping malls. Both chains offer in-store eye exams and most have in-store finishing labs. Luxottica in recent years has focused on remodeling its LensCrafters stores in North America to move the chain upmarket. The company shifted its gaze southward when it acquired the Stanza and High Tech retail sunglass chains in Mexico for roughly €17 million (about $23 million) in 2011. The purchases, consisting of 70 stores altogether, are Luxottica's first in the emerging country, and they will lay a foundation for future expansion; the stores were rebranded as Sunglass Huts.
China is a growth market for LensCrafters, which entered the country in 2006 and has reached a number of more than 240 stores there and in Hong Kong through the acquisition of several chains. Increasing its exposure to the Latin American market, Luxottica acquired a 40% stake in Multiopticas, the owner and more than 470 eyewear stores in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Seeing Multiopticas as a key region for Luxottica, the company upped its stake in Multiopticas in 2011 to 57% with an eye on reaching 97% in the near future.
In 2009 Luxottica created a new global sunglass and luxury eyeglass retail management group to support its Sunglass Hut, ILORI, The Optical Shops of Aspen, and Bright Eyes retail brands. ILORI, with 25 US stores in select markets such as SoHo in New York and Beverly Hills, caters to an exclusive clientele, while some 2,000 Sunglass Hut locations cater to the less than fabulous. In 2009 Sunglass Hut partnered with Macy's to open about 430 in-store shops in its department stores. By spring 2011 some 670 Sunglass Hut locations will be housed in Macy's stores nationwide. On the e-commerce side of the business both Oakley and Ray-Ban operate websites.
Luxottica Group entered the retail market in 1995 with the purchase of The United States Shoe Corporation, the owner of LensCrafters. Its 2001 purchase of Sunglass Hut marked its entry in the retail sunglass business. – less