Essilor develops new marketing strategy despite successful 2016 – Annual report

Full-year revenue of euro 304 million (AU$424.1 m) and a proposed ‘super-merger’ with Luxottica were other positives listed in the company’s annual report, which described healthy performance in Europe, mixed fortunes in North America and the completion of 18 new partnerships and acquisitions.As a result, the Essilor board has recommended a dividend of euro 1.50 (AU$2.05) per share – an increase of 35.1% – to be ratified at the shareholder’s annual meeting on May 11.According to its annual report, online sales and optical instruments contributed positively to the sustained growth throughout the year, which was boosted by sales of Varilux and Transitions lenses in Italy and Spain. The increased internet sales activities can also be attributed to the acquisition of online vendors MyOptique and Vision Direct.One of the major highlights for Essilor was the global rollout of the Eyezen range of lenses and the launch of the Eye Protect Syst in Europe and the US.{{quote-A:R-W:450-I:2-Q: In 2016, Essilor achieved another year of earnings growth, continued its mission to improve vision care around the world. -WHO:Hubert Sagnières, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Essilor}}“In 2016, Essilor achieved another year of earnings growth, continued its mission to improve vision care around the world and expanded its operational and geographic reach,” Mr Hubert Sagnieres, chairman and CEO of Essilor, said.“We are beginning 2017 with a strengthened leadership team and operational structure in order to even more effectively capture the growth opportunities offered by the vast eye care market,” Sagnieres added, alluding to the proposed EssilorLuxottica merger.However, it wasn’t all good news for the multinational with subdued full year performance by its Sunglasses & Readers division, despite improved momentum during the second half.Meanwhile, the company is believed to be shelving traditional design and product development methods by focusing on a more innovative and customer-centered approach, starting with the next generation Varilux lenses, which are set to be launched later this year.Essilor will now target its products to five distinct consumer segments: ‘kids and teens’ aged from zero to 18 years, ‘young adults’ from 19-44 years, ‘midlife’ for those aged 44-64 years and ‘seniors’ aged 65 and up.‘Nextgen’ consumers, who have limited to no access to eyewear and are generally based in developing nations will also form part of the marketing strategy.According to Mr Alain Riveline, corporate senior vice president of global marketing, Essilor has studied social media and online communities to better understand their consumers.The company has also developed a ‘house lab’ where they can test their products in “real life situations, not just clinical situations.”Riveline explained that the company’s traditional approach to product innovation had previously been organised by “technique and know how, physical and chical properties, engineering and optical design. We decided to completely change this approach by focusing on consumer segments.”

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