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149 Sunglass Hut Stores Closed Due to Poor Sales

November 20, 1998| From Bloomberg News

Sunglass Hut International Inc., the largest customer of Orange County sunglass makers Oakley Inc. and Arnette Optics, said Thursday it closed 149 stores that were unprofitable or weren't meeting expectations and will close as many as 76 more by the end of January.

The Florida-based company wouldn't give the locations of the stores to be shut and said the additional closings will bring the total in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31 to 200 to 225.

The announcement was the second bit of somber news in as many days in the sunglass industry. On Wednesday, industry giant Bausch & Lomb, the maker of Ray-Ban, Revo, Arnette and Killer Loop glasses, said its was considering its poorly performing sunglass division. Arnette is based in San Clemente and has 130 employees.

Sunglass Hut, the world's largest sunglass retailer, operates 2,003 outlets around the globe with kiosks and stores in malls and free-standing stores selling popular sunglasses brands such as Oakley, Revo and others.

It also has 107 Watch Station stores, several of which are among the stores being closed.

Company officials said sales were disappointing throughout much of the fiscal third-quarter, as sales of stores open for a year or more fell 0.5%.

The company said its loss for the third quarter ended Oct. 31 narrowed to $4.0 million, or 8 cents a share, from $5.1 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier. Sales were little changed, rising to $122.8 million from $122.4 million.

Sunglass Hut shares were unchanged at $5 in Nasdaq trading. Oakley shares advanced 44 cents, to $9.81, on the Nasdaq, while Bausch & Lomb shares rose 38 cents, to $50.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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