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Ray Bans, Chanel, Burberry: Who has the monopoly on all the sunglasses?

By Aleksandra Piotrow

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Luxottica controls 80 per cent of the major eyewear brands. / Pexels

The sun has got his hat on and it’s time to buy new shades. The obvious must-haves for the season are the cult Ray Ban aviators, designed especially for aviation back in the day, to reduce distraction from light without fogging up, now retailing for around £130.

If you’ve ever wondered why all these sunglasses are so expensive it’s because of a firm you’ve probably never heard of called Luxottica. The Italian frames manufacturer controls 80 per cent of the major eyewear brands. Besides Ray Bans, it produces sunglasses for Oakley, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry or Chanel to name a few. It also has more than 7,200 retail locations around the world, including Sunglass Hut. With such a monopoly the company can set prices as high as the customers are willing to pay.

The firm is now planning a merger with French lenses brand Essilor in a deal said to be worth £38 billion, so the chances are prices will jump even higher. Better not wait and get your sunnies sooner rather than later.

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