Sunglass Hut International
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (May 2010)|
Sunglass Hut is an international retailer of sunglasses and sunglass accessories founded in Miami, Florida 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, Canada, the Caribbean, Brazil, continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, the Middle East, India and most notably in megalopolis Montreal, Canada.
The first Sunglass Hut store opened in 1971 when optometrist Sanford 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 2000, the Luxottica Group acquired Sunglass Hut, paying US$653 million 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, 80 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, which offer customers an enriched shopping experience. Sunglass Hut has also entered into a partnership with Macy’s to open stores within their department stores.
Sunglass Hut has entered a number of new and growing markets in recent years to satisfy the demand of the emerging middle class in developing nations in Asia and the Middle East. In the last five years, 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.
Strategic partnerships 
Sunglass Hut has sought to increase sales by creating strategic 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 a number of high-profile fashion events over the years, including the Miami Swim Show.
Sunglass Hut also 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 well-know graffiti artist Claw Money.
In 2010, an exclusive to Sunglass Hut only RayBan Rare Print was launched featuring American Graphic Design Artist Matt W. Moore. This series launched some of Matt's work in graphic design and artistry. The series even made a huge splash being featured in a big billboard painting by the artist himself in SoHo.
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 all invited to try out to be the next "it girl" for Sunglass Hut, N.A. The contest went for weeks showcasing the top bloggers of the week, being voted by the fans who were able to visit the Sunglass Hut website. These blog-offs were to show what each blogger can do to earn their rightful place within the Sunglass Hut Family. Eventually the winner was chosen and given to a then native New Yorker - Kristy Elena. Her fabulous prize included a 1 year contract with Sunglass Hut to write in articles about the brand and sunglasses. The glasses were those that were to be featured in the next few months and were able to show fans all over how to fully accessorize their wardrobe. Other prizes include but were not limited to - a furnished apartment in NYC, trips to Fashion Week, New Sunglasses, etc.
By hosting this contest Sunglass Hut embarked on their Social Media journey and have not looked back.
Sunglass Hut entered the world of eCommerce in 1998 when it added the ability to purchase sunglasses to its US website, sunglasshut.com.
In 2009, Sunglass Hut introduced a series of 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’s fashion-oriented positioning has seen it mentioned on a number of popular fashion blogs, including Slaves to Fashion, complex.com, psfk and Splendicity. Sunglass Hut also 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)|