Italy's Luxottica sees strong start to the year

MILAN Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:52am EST

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MILAN Jan 29 (Reuters) - Italy's Luxottica, the world's biggest premium eyewear maker by sales, said sales at the start of 2013 showed positive trends after strong demand in North America helped sales to meet forecasts last year.

The owner of Ray-ban and Oakley brands said on Tuesday fourth-quarter sales rose 8.2 percent at current exchange rates to 1.63 billion euros ($2.2 billion), a touch less than an average estimate of 1.64 billion euros by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

"The initial results for 2013, and for North America in particular, continue to present strong growth prospects," Chief Executive Andrea Guerra said in the results statement.

The cash-rich group, which also makes sunglasses for brands including Prada and Giorgio Armani, has recently grown through acquisitions of retail chains, and it benefits from a highly integrated supply and distribution chain. ($1 = 0.7429 euros) (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio and Sabina Suzzi, editing by Jennifer Clark)

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