Oakley's chief operating officer Link Newcomb said:
"During the first quarter of 2004, our new sunglass offerings were welcomed enthusiastically by retailers and we saw early signs of positive consumer sell-through.
"Ffirst quarter gross sales of our newer categories improved by 33.6 percent to a record $52.2m, led by strong spring launches of the company's apparel and prescription eyewear products. Combined sales from the newer categories accounted for 39.3 percent of first quarter sales, providing further evidence that our diversification strategy is working and reinforcing our belief that these categories continue to offer substantial growth opportunities.
"During the first quarter, worldwide gross sunglass sales of $64m were essentially equal to last year's first quarter.
"Gross sales of sunglasses to Oakley's diverse base of retailers other than Sunglass Hut, combined with sales through our own retail operations and other channels, increased 9.6 percent, which we believe reflects increased consumer demand for Oakley's new and existing sunglass products. Offsetting that increase, U.S. net sales to Sunglass Hut declined significantly during the quarter, reflecting their efforts to attain a more efficient Oakley inventory level at their distribution centre."