Sunglass Hut International
Sunglass Hut is an international retailer of sunglasses and sunglass accessories founded in Miami, Florida, USA, in 1971. Sunglass Hut is part of the Italian-based Luxottica Group, the world’s largest eyewear company.
As of December 31, 2008, the Luxottica Group operated 2,286 stores worldwide, most of those as part of the Sunglass Hut brand. Sunglass Hut stores are located in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Brazil, continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, the Middle East including Israel, and India.
The first Sunglass Hut store opened in 1971 when optometrist Sanford L. Ziff set up in a freestanding kiosk in Miami's Dadeland Mall. The success of this kiosk prompted Ziff to open other Sunglass Hut locations in Miami, and by 1986, Ziff had opened approximately 100 Sunglass Hut outlets, achieving sales of $24 million a year.
Sunglass Hut continued to grow, and in 1986 Ziff sold a 75% stake in Sunglass Hut to Connecticut investment firm Kidd, Kamm & Co. for $US35-million. Ziff retained the company’s existing management team and shifted part ownership to his son, Dean. Following the partial acquisition, the business was incorporated under the name Sunglass Hut International, Inc.
Ziff retired from Sunglass Hut in 1989. He and his family retained a 25 percent stake in the business, but were no longer involved in its day-to-day operation. They retained the stake until 1991, when the company's annual sales surpassed $100 million, and the Ziff family sold the portion of Sunglass Hut that remained in their control.
In 1993, Sunglass Hut International, Inc. became a public company, with an initial public offering of US$70-million, and by 1996, Sunglass Hut possessed a 30 percent share of the sunglass market in the United States. The company also began selling watches under the names ‘Watch Station’, ‘Watch World’, and as combined Sunglass Hut-Watch Station stores.
In February 2001, the Luxottica Group acquired Sunglass Hut, paying US$653 million including debt  and taking possession of 1,300 Sunglass Hut stores, 430 Sunglass Hut-Watch Station combination stores, and 228 stores that operated under either the Watch Station or Watch World banner.
Under Luxottica's control, Sunglass Hut repositioned its brand identity to emphasize the fashionability of the sunglasses it sold. The repositioning began in 2003, and its current inception is the ‘Put Them On’ positioning now used by the Sunglass Hut brand worldwide.
Stores and locations
Sunglass Hut operates 2,000 retail outlets in 20 countries: 1,562 in North America, 157 in Australia, 44 in New Zealand, 15 in Asia, 123 in South Africa, 81 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 33 in the Middle East, and 35 in India.
Sunglass Hut store types include normal retail stores and shopping centre kiosks, retailers in airports, hotels and outlet centres, and premium ‘global’ stores. Sunglass Hut has entered into a partnership with Macy’s to open stores within their department stores.
Sunglass Hut stores have opened in Australia, China, Thailand, India, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In 2011, they continued to grow within Central and South America, opening up stores in Mexico and Brasil.
Sunglass Hut has sought to increase sales by creating partnerships with designer fashion labels. In April 2009, Sunglass Hut and Prada created a one-week-only Prada concept store in the Rockefeller Centre, New York.
In a bid to increase its fashion credentials, Sunglass Hut has sponsored fashion events over the years, including the Miami Swim Show.
Sunglass Hut teamed up with Nicaraguan artist Chris Mendoza in November 2008 to create individualized pairs of Ray-Ban Wayfarers on location at Sunglass Hut's SoHo store in New York. Other artistic collaborations include a collection by graffiti artist Claw Money.
In 2010, an "exclusive to Sunglass Hut" RayBan Rare Print was launched featuring American Graphic Design Artist Matt W. Moore. The series launched some of Matt's work in graphic design and artistry.
In an effort to gain more from Social Media outlets, Sunglass Hut launched a "Full-time Fabulous" contest in 2010. Bloggers, fashionistas, and customers were invited to try out to be the next "it girl" for Sunglass Hut, N.A. The contest showcased the top bloggers of the week, being voted for by fans who visited the Sunglass Hut website. The winner was a New Yorker - Kristy Elena. Her prize included a one year contract with Sunglass Hut to write articles about the brand and sunglasses. Other prizes included a furnished apartment in NYC, trips to Fashion Week, and sunglasses.
Sunglass Hut entered eCommerce in 1998 when it added the ability to purchase sunglasses to its US website, sunglasshut.com.
In 2009, Sunglass Hut introduced in-store photo booths, called Social Sun, that allow customers to take a picture of themselves trying on sunglasses in store, as well as email the photos or send them by multimedia message (MMS) to a mobile phone.
In popular culture
- Sunglass Hut has been mentioned on fashion blogs, including Slaves to Fashion, complex.com, psfk and Splendicity.
- Sunglass Hut appeared in an episode of the animated series American Dad.
Put Them On
Sunglass Hut's new brand identity, ‘Put Them On’, launched internationally in 2008. The campaign has appeared over 20 countries in the form of press, radio, outdoor, direct marketing, online and point of sale advertising.
|Type||Public (Luxottica Group S.p.A. (MAT:LUX, NYSE:LUX)|
|Industry||Retail - specialty|
|Products||Sunglasses, watches, sunglass accessories|
|Revenue||$764.7 million (2011)|