By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
June 21, 2017
It’s a good year for independent ECPs, Vision Monday’s Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers Report for 2017 suggests.
The top-ranked optical retailer is not a corporate-owned chain, but Vision Source, an alliance of independent ODs.
Vision Source has more than 4,200 members in approximately 3,344 U.S. franchised locations. The addition of approximately 80 new locations last year moved it into the number one position on the Vision Monday ranking of top U.S. optical retailers. The ranking is based on 2016 sales. Vision Source was purchased by Essilor of America in late 2015.
Luxottica had previously held the number one spot. The merger of Essilor and Luxottica in late 2015, is still pending. The integration of the two companies, according to executives in both companies, is still several years away. One of the most intriguing issues with the merger is that Luxottica, for the first time in its corporate life, will have an interest in private practice independent optometry succeeding in the market place. What will come of this merger for the independent?
One potential possibility of having a frame company and a lens company both interested in independent optometry’s success, is increased efficiency in the supply chain. Increased efficiency in the supply chain can lead to lower costs, innovation and increased speed of delivery to patients.
Lower costs occur as the supply chain becomes more efficient. This helps manage practice expenses. Cost of goods is one of the largest expenses in a practice. Anything that helps keeps cost down helps the practice.
As a lens company and a frame company begin to think about how to do business better, innovation should occur. It will be interesting to see what the two companies come up with in the next 2-3 years.
Speed of delivery. This will definitely help patient care. Most patients want their glasses almost immediately. Anything that shortens the time between frame and lens selection, and the delivery of eyewear to the patient, both helps the patient and gives the practice a better image.
Change is always uncertain. The merger of Essilor and Luxottica holds a great deal of uncertainty for eyecare practices. Change does not have to be negative; it can be very positive. The merger of Esslior and Luxotica holds great promise for the future of eyecare independents.