Eyewear maker EssilorLuxottica looks beyond the pandemic as sales continue to rebound

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By Anait Miridzhanian and Mimosa Spencer

(Reuters) – The world’s largest eyewear company, EssilorLuxottica, reported strong sales growth in the fourth quarter, again topping pre-pandemic levels and boosted by its performance in the United States and its acquisition of GrandVision .

Shares of EssilorLuxottica, which owns sunglasses brands Oakley and Ray-Ban and makes sunglasses and eyeglass frames for brands including Chanel and Prada, rose 2.3% after quarterly results , slightly higher than analysts’ forecasts.

The company said fourth-quarter revenue was 5.58 billion euros ($6.14 billion), including GrandVision, up about 32% from a year earlier and almost 35% compared to the pre-pandemic level of 2019 at constant exchange rates.

Excluding the acquisition of GrandVision, fourth quarter revenue increased 11% compared to the same period in 2019 before the pandemic.

The group acquired more than 76% of the Dutch eyewear retailer in July and completed the purchase of the remaining shares in January. GrandVision has added more stores to the group’s retail business, which now generates half of EssilorLuxottica’s sales.

According to RBC, fourth-quarter revenue beat analysts’ consensus expectations by 1%.

The company has seen a strong rebound in sales since last summer, particularly in North America, as economies reopened after restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Its shares are up nearly 8% over the past year.

EssilorLuxottica said it is aiming for adjusted operating profit of between 19% and 20% of revenue by 2026, compared to 17% in 2021.

On Thursday, EssilorLuxottica said in a post on its LinkedIn page that it was temporarily restricting its operations in Russia, where it has about 1,000 employees and a network of about 100 Lensmaster stores, citing significant uncertainty and disruption.

A wave of Western companies have suspended their business activities in Russia, either because of the harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe following the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow, or to show their opposition to the war in Ukraine.

“During this difficult time, the safety of our staff remains our priority and we are providing all possible support to our teams concerned in the region,” said managing director Francesco Milleri and his deputy, Paul du Saillant, in the income statement. .

Russia and Ukraine account for less than 200 million euros or 1% of group revenue, executives said on a call with analysts on Tuesday.

Overall, business got off to a good start in 2022, executives said, noting they had not seen any impact of inflation on sales or spillover from the conflict in Ukraine to other regions.

($1 = 0.9089 euros)

(Reporting by Anait Miridzhanian and Mimosa SpencerEditing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter)

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