Port Melbourne, Australia (PressExposure) May 28, 2009 -- Specsavers Optometrists has reported staggering growth of 325% in the past year of operations â bucking the economic downturn and dire industry projections with record week-on-week figures. The Australian retail rollout has been the fastest the company has ever seen in its 25-year history, during which time it has branched into a total of 10 countries.
Since May last year, the business has assisted local optometrists to open 110 new Specsavers stores, with a total of 171 stores now open in Australia. Specsavers believes it has snatched a 16.4% annualised market share by value from a standing start in February 2008 and is now the second biggest optical retailer in Australia.
The company is planning to open another 50 stores in the next six months, creating new Aussie jobs, and opportunities for local optometrists who wish to run their own businesses. An additional 200 new jobs are being created at the MCG-sized manufacturing and operational facility due to open later this year in Port Melbourne.
The brandâs runaway success flies in the face of industry analyst IBIS Worldâs predictions in February of a 0.2% contraction in the optical dispensing market, and puts the less than 1% growth figures of competitors in the shade.
Peter Larsen, Managing Director of Specsavers Australia, said, âWe knew we were bringing a winning formula to Australians but even we canât believe how successful Specsavers has been â especially in the middle of a global economic crisis. Our results are better than we expected even before the financial crisis hit.
âThis growth is against the trend predicted by industry analyst IBIS World who forecast the Australian optometry and optical dispensing market to contract by 0.2%. It is also against the trend seen by other optical retailers, which media has quoted as experiencing less than 1% growth or no growth.
âBy contrast, Specsavers has posted record earnings week after week in 2009, with some stores experiencing over 300% growth during the past 12 months. On average, our stores grew by 40.9% (like for like) during the past 12 months and the company grew by 325% overall. When you consider that other optometry businesses are bragging about not going backwards during the financial crisis, it really puts into perspective what an incredible achievement this is.â
Mr Larsen said the astounding success of Specsavers â a brand previously unknown in the Australian marketplace â was a testament to the companyâs ongoing commitment to driving down the cost of glasses.
âThe optical sector in Australia has suffered from lack of competition for years, with one large Italian company â Luxottica â owning most of the brands people are familiar with,â he said.
âThis lack of competition has led to complacency about prices and ultimately to people paying far too much for glasses in this country.
âSince the arrival of Specsavers, we have already seen a huge reaction from our competitors â who have whipped out their red pens and started discounting their products in response to our great value offers. This is great news for the Australian consumer because it is reducing the cost of glasses across the board.â
Mr Larsen said another reason Australians had taken to the Specsavers brand so readily was the value and quality of its product offerings.
âPeople recognise a good deal when they see it and Specsavers is offering market leading deals as part of their normal everyday prices,â he said.
âLots of businesses will give you a one-off good deal during a sale but I believe weâre the only company that gives you two pairs of high quality glasses for one low price all year round. And we donât give you one expensive designer pair and then a cheap end-of-line cast-off for your âfreeâ second pair. When you buy two pairs for one price at Specsavers, you can choose any two pairs of equally high quality from that range.
âSpecsavers is now offering what I believe is the best everyday deal thatâs ever been seen in this country; two pairs of high quality, complete glasses, including PENTAX lenses for just $179. This is not a one-off promotion â you can get that every day in a Specsavers store.â
Calculated by comparing Specsavers total sales against the total volume of the optometry industry as measured by the IBISWorld industry report, February 12, 2009.