The Year 2014: Part 4

januari 2, 2015

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We already discussed Luxottica but of course other companies hit the news as well. One of the most interesting things to mention is the announcement of luxury group Kering to start an own eyewear division and no longer close license agreements for eyewear with eyewear manufacturers in the future. The first brand involved is Gucci. Kering bought back the existing license and the new division will start selling and promoting the brand as of 2016. As soon as this news was published, Safilo stock prices dropped dramatically. At the beginning of 2014 Safilo shares were almost 19 euro, today they are worth less than 11 euro. Kering’s strategy is remarkable. If this proves to be successful other brands could choose the same direction which would change the position of the major eyewear manufacturers significantly. But there is still a long way to go. Analysts doubt whether Kering will be able to sell the same amount of (sun)glasses as Safilo does now. We will see.

In the second half of the year CooperVision announced to acquire Sauflon but until now the authorities did not agree, forcing the companies to work out a better deal. Inface, ProDesign and Face à Face are now all three owned by the same investment company and announced a closer collaboration. Orgreen and Claire Goldsmith did the same and HOYA started to sell the Easyscan of the Dutch company I-Optics. Italia Independent will introduce a new, more affordable, collection called EYEYE. Marchon launched its first collection for the Italian fashion brand Liu Jo. The licenses of Ermenegildo Zegna and Pucci go to Marcolin. Menrad lost the VIVA collections which will be sold by Marcolin now but got REVO in return. Mykita presented a first collection for Maison Martin Margiela. Dutch eyewear veteran Gijs van Leeuwen left Polaroid and started with INVU of the Swiss Eyewear Group founded by former Polaroid employees. Ron de Bruin left Essilor and was succeeded by Alex Versteeg. His job has been taken over by Sebastiaan de Jong. Last but not least we lost one of the pioneers of the modern eyewear Arnold Schmied, founder of Silhouette. He passed away at the age of 89.

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