BUSINESS: Financial Safilo Group S.p.A. Reports Higher Profits and Sales Increase in Q1 By Staff Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:20 AM PADUA, Italy—The board of directors of Safilo Group S.p.A. (SFL.MI) has approved the results for the first quarter of 2013 ended March 31. In the first quarter of 2013, net sales totaled €297.0 million compared to € 288.7 million in the same period of 2012, an increase of 2.9 percent. Net profit increased by 12.1 percent to €13.4 million compared to €12.0 million in the first quarter of 2012. According to the company, growth was led by the contribution of both organic business performance and Polaroid’s sales which more than compensated the termination of the brands phased out in 2012. “We started 2013 with positive results, ending the first quarter with a significant increase in our organic business,” said Roberto Vedovotto, CEO of Safilo Group. “This was driven by the double-digit sales growth of the go-forward brands coupled with the strengthening of the overall performance in our key markets. On top of this, we were able to manage effectively the final exit of the Armani licenses improving Safilo’s economic and capital structure with no impact at top line level. In a still volatile market, we are glad with the results we are achieving, testifying the strength of our long term strategy.” The wholesale business increased by 3.0 percent to €279.6 million, compared to €271.5 million in first quarter of 2012. The American market also confirmed a positive trend in this quarter, with a wholesale turnover that equaled €101.2 million, up 1.0 percent; while retail sales at Solstice directly operated stores increased by 1.7 percent to €17.4 million with a reduced number of points of sales. According to the company, in the period, the organic performance of the North American area proved to be one of the strongest among the mature markets, highlighting the competitiveness of the group’s commercial policies and the appeal of the new product collections both of the high-end brands and of the American and international brands in the diffusion segment. The diffusion segment has become the key driver of the strong growth rates that the group continues to post in Latin American countries where Safilo’s strategic action is progressively increasing. At the end of March, the group’s net debt totaled €220.4 million, slightly up compared to the €215.3 million at the end of December 2012 but improving compared to the €243.2 million of the corresponding period of 2012.