Sunglass Hut

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Sunglass Hut International
IndustryRetail - specialty
Founded1971 (1971) in Miami, Florida, USA by Sanford L. Ziff
ProductsSunglasses, watches, sunglass accessories
Number of employees
9,200[citation needed]

Sunglass Hut is an international retailer of sunglasses and sunglass accessories founded in Miami, Florida, United States, 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.[1]

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.[2]


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.[3][4]

Sunglass Hut at the Boynton Beach Mall.This store depicts the older logo and store concept.

Sunglass Hut continued to grow,[citation needed] and in 1986 Ziff sold a 75% stake in Sunglass Hut to Connecticut investment firm Kidd, Kamm & Co. for $35 million.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

In 1993, Sunglass Hut International, Inc. became a public company, with an initial public offering of US$70-million,[citation needed] and by 1996, Sunglass Hut possessed a 30 percent share of the sunglass market in the United States.[citation needed] The company also began selling watches under the names Watch Station, Watch World, and as combined Sunglass Hut-Watch Station stores.[citation needed]

Sunglass Hut entered eCommerce in 1998[citation needed] when it added the ability to purchase sunglasses to its US website.

In February 2001, the Luxottica Group acquired Sunglass Hut, paying US$653 million including debt [5] 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 fashion of the sunglasses it sold. The repositioning began in 2003.[citation needed]

The Watch Station International chain was sold to Fossil Inc. in December 2007.[6][7]

Stores and locations[edit]

Sunglass Hut at the Natick Mall
Sunglass Hut kiosk in Sydney

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. As of 2015, it is the most common store in American shopping malls.[8]

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.[citation needed]

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 Brazil.[2]

Strategic partnerships[edit]

In May 2018, Sunglass Hut signed an agreement to bring their brand to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's stores and e-commerce platforms offering a selection of premium sports and performance brands dedicated to outdoor sports. The first opened in May 2018. The annual target is sales of $100 million.

From September 2015, in a three-year deal, Sunglass Hut became the principal sponsor of both London Fashion Week and London Fashion Weekend. Each season, in collaboration with the British Fashion Council, Sunglass Hut organises a series of events and activities to celebrate British fashion, including collaborations with emerging and leading British fashion brands such as Henry Holland and Gareth Pugh.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

In 2010, an "exclusive to Sunglass Hut" RayBan Rare Print was launched featuring American Graphic Design Artist Matt W. Moore.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Luxottica Annual Report - 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Sunglass Hut". Luxottica. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  3. ^ Cohen, Howard. "Visionary sunglasses pioneer, arts philanthropist Sanford Ziff dies at 91". Miami Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ "History of Sunglass Hut". Funding Universe. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Luxottica to buy Sunglass Hut for $462M - Feb. 22, 2001".
  6. ^ "Canadian trade-mark data".
  7. ^
  8. ^ Gambrell, Dorothy; Clark, Patrick (February 10, 2015). "The Average American Mall Explained In 6 Charts". Bloomberg Business.

External links[edit]