Luxottica Group S.p.A. ( LUX )

Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

July 26, 2010 12:30 pm ET


Alessandra Senici – Director, IR

Andrea Guerra – CEO

Enrico Cavatorta – CFO


Antoine Belge – HSBC

Stefano Corneliani – Intermonte SIM

Daniel Hofkin – William Blair & Company

Allegra Perry – Nomura

Flavio Cereda – Merrill Lynch

Domenico Ghilotti – Equita SIM

Andrea Bonfà – Banca Aletti



Good afternoon. This is the Chorus Call conference operator. Welcome and thank you for joining Luxottica's second quarter 2010 results conference call. As a reminder, all participants are in listen-only mode. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. (Operator Instructions).

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Ms. Alessandra Senici, Group Investor Relations Director. Please go ahead, madam.

Alessandra Senici

Thank you, operator. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today. Here with me are Andrea Guerra and Enrico Cavatorta.

Before we begin, first, I have a couple of quick items to cover. As a reminder, a slide presentation which we will informally follow during this call is available for download from our website under the reading Investor Relations Presentation section. This presentation includes certain non-GAAP financial information within the meaning of Regulation G under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act.

Further information including additional information required by Regulation G is also available in Luxottica Group's press release relating to its results for the second quarter of 2010, which may be found on our website under the reading Investor Relations Press Releases section. This conference call is being recorded and is also available via audio webcast from our website.

During the course of today's call, certain projections or other forward-looking statements may be made regarding Luxottica Group's future financial performance or future events. We wish to caution you that such projections or statements are based upon current information and expectation, and actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. You can read more about such forward-looking statements on page two of the slide presentation.

We also refer you to our filings with the SEC and Italian securities authorities. These filings contain additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in management's projections or forward-looking statements.

We will begin with our CEO, Andrea Guerra.

Andrea Guerra

Welcome to our second quarter conference call even from my side. The external demand and external world is performing more or less as we expected. We introduced a couple of quarters ago the concept of selectivity in the recovery and I think this is happening today. This a year where differences and different performance between companies, business, brands, worlds, geographies will be and it is highly visible.

I am surely happy how we performed, and I also have to add that I am happy about our July performance as well. And therefore, we are looking forward to the remaining part of the year with a positive attitude. I think we have been very careful week after week and month after month in observing and following up on trends, trying to exploit and leverage on everything possible we could get from the market.

To me, the trends are; one, a very healthy wholesale business with the good news of anticipating the return of positive results in the price mix and with the luxury premium segment, which achieved a solid double-digit growth, I think behind a number of very successful different projects in this arena.

Second, LensCrafters, very positive across the USA. Good performance in achieving the second pair and in the sun Rx units. The performance and the comp growth of LensCrafters would have been even stronger if we would have decided to keep on having the same weeks of promotional activities we had last year. We cut a couple, and therefore – if we stop, the comps comparison at 10th of June probably we were more in the region of the 5% rather than the 3.5%, but we cut the promotional activities, we are happy that we do it. June in case was slightly positive, which gives us another sign of reliability of LensCrafters and I think that third quarter can be another strong quarter for LensCrafters.

Third point about trends is the Sunglass Hut's fast recovery. If I just remember where we were a year ago, June was our record month ever for Sunglass Hut US, with sales that were just above the $100 million, our best result ever in the history of Sunglass Hut US. Fourth element, emerging markets over performing our expectation, and I still strongly believe that we can do even a better job going forward.

Fifth trend, Australia is weak. We had anticipated that, it's still weak. I think we are not underperforming the market at all. If I observe, Q2 is better than Q1, but I think that we are still having some months before seeing a positive result yet. Ray-Ban and Oakley; very solid performance, continuing GAAP [ph] double-digit growth trends.

On the financial side, I think the management of our working capital is paying off and yet we were able to improve our working capital days position by another nine days.

So, now that I'm talking about numbers, about financial numbers, I'll give the word to Enrico so we can go in more detail and color. Good afternoon, Enrico.

Enrico Cavatorta

Thank you, Andrea. Good morning, everybody. Let's have a quick look at our second quarter and first half results. First of all, we had positive results in sales. Excluding exchange rate effect, we were in the mid-to-high single-digit performance, 6.5%, with a better performance in wholesale than in retail.

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