EssilorLuxottica presented updated figures and reported a 7.3% increase in consolidated sales in the first quarter of 2021 to €4,060 million compared to the first quarter of 2020 (+14.3% at constant exchange rates). Consolidated revenue increased by 1.9% at constant exchange rates compared to the first quarter of 2019.
“EssilorLuxottica had a strong start to the year. While the pandemic continued to affect us, we fought even harder and achieved significant sales growth, exceeding pre-pandemic levels,” said Francesco Milleri and Paul du Saillant, CEO and Deputy CEO of EssilorLuxottica, respectively.
Operational and financial highlights
Revenue grew at constant exchange rates compared to both the first quarter of 2020 (+14.3%) and 2019 (+1.9%). The momentum accelerated towards the end of the quarter.
In addition, the first quarter revenue had also improved sequentially compared to the 1.7% growth at constant exchange rates in the fourth quarter of 2020.
By business segment, the optical business, which accounts for around 75% of sales, continued to drive performance with solid sales of prescription products and optical retail. Demand for sunglasses rebounded in North America, with Sunglass Hut reporting double-digit comparable store sales in March versus 2019.
E-commerce grew 61% vs. 2019 (and +47% vs. 2020) in constant currencies, with overall sales from owned monobrand platforms doubling.
In Lenses & Optical Instruments, new launches underlined the success of EssilorLuxottica’s market activation initiatives: the lenses in the myopia control category, the Varilux Comfort Max progressive lenses, the Ray-Ban Authentic offering in sun and clear prescription; the launch of the Transitions Signature GEN 8 photochromic lenses, the AVA lenses and the associated Vision-R 800 measuring device had also continued successfully.
Geographically, there were strong signs of a recovery in demand in North America, visible across all of the company’s distribution channels. China, now EssilorLuxottica’s second largest sales market, and Australia contributed significantly to growth. Europe and most developing markets lagged behind due to new restrictions related to the Covid 19 pandemic.
EssilorLuxottica completed several bolt-on acquisitions in the quarter: In February 2021, an agreement with CooperCompanies to form a 50/50 joint venture to acquire SightGlass Vision, a US life science company focused on developing innovative eyeglass lenses to reduce the progression of myopia in children; and in March 2021, an agreement to acquire the Walman US laboratory network: 35 facilities in the US, including lens finishing laboratories and hubs for optical instruments and other vision care products.
Outlook from EssilorLuxottica
EssilorLuxottica had set a target to deliver a performance at least comparable to 2019 in terms of both revenue and adjusted operating profit margin in constant currencies. This is helped by positive momentum in several business areas and the gradual normalisation of the business environment due to vaccination campaigns, albeit with remaining uncertainties around Covid-19.
EssilorLuxottica’s Annual General Meeting will be held on 21 May 2021.