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( OO) said Friday it believes its products will continue to be carried in

Sunglass Hut International


, which was bought by rival

Luxottica Group



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Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based Oakley said it was responding to "several inquiries" about the acquisition of Sunglass Hut, which Italy's Luxottica acquired for $653 million in cash and the assumption of debt. Sunglass Hut is Oakley's largest customer.

"Based on preliminary discussions we have held with Sunglass Hut management within the past 24 hours, we have every reason to believe they will continue to support Oakley as a leading brand with a powerful consumer following within their worldwide store base," Oakley said.

The sunglass and goggle maker also said "recent weakness" in its share price provided an opportunity for the company to continue buying back stock under its $20 million share-repurchase program announced in December 2000. Oakley said about $8.3 million remains available for purchases.

Shares of Oakley slid 71 cents, or 4.26%, to $15.94 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading. They have a 52-week range of $7.13 and $22.50. Luxottica gained $1.19, or 8.82%, to $14.68, while Sunglass Hut stood unchanged at $11.31 on the