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Oakley Tells Wall Street It's Made a Move Up to 'World Brand' Status

May 04, 2000|Leslie Earnest | Leslie Earnest covers retail businesses for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7832 and at

Never one to underplay an event, Oakley Inc. recently told Wall Street analysts after a strong quarterly earnings report that it has made the transition from sunglass company to "world brand."

Buoyed by improving numbers, Oakley executives crowed about its increased market share at the expense of other sunglass brands, a 46% increase in first-quarter international sales and a test launch of its shoes in Athletes Foot, Foot Locker and REI stores.

"Confidence is extremely high going forward," Chief Executive Jim Jannard said during the conference call. "I hope we will stay on your 'stocks to watch' list."

Oakley has taken pains of late to attract Wall Street's attention, including conducting a recent road show to press the flesh with analysts. And it may be paying off. The Foothill Ranch-based company received repeated congratulations during the conference call.

Analyst Eric Beder, with Ladenburg Thalmann, liked the prospect of Oakley shoes in Athletes Foot or Foot Locker stores. "Either one of those could double the amount of footwear outlets they have right now," he said.

Oakley has not yet nudged its shoe division into the black, but its losses have narrowed and the company said the division should start making money in the second half of the year.

The day after the earnings announcement, Oakley's stock jumped 14% to close at $10.94 on the New York Stock Exchange. On Wednesday, the stock closed at $11.19, down 6 cents.

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