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Specsavers Responds To Bootsda Merger News

Friday, 30 January 2009

In response to today's news (30 January 2009) that Alliance Boots has merged its Boots Opticians business with rival Dollond & Aitchison, founder of Specsavers, the UK's largest optical retailer, Dame Mary Perkins, says:

'It is always sad to see an old established name disappear from our high streets and I am sure that we will see many others follow - not just opticians.

'We want to reassure customers that, as the largest privately owned opticians in the world and the most trusted brand - as voted by Readers Digest for the past eight years - Specsavers will continue to offer affordable eyecare for everyone.

'The February Which? Report, published today, states that you are more likely to get better customer satisfaction in an independent store than a chain. Unlike many of our competitors, in the UK and Republic of Ireland, we do not run a franchise operation or a chain but work in joint partnership with our local resident opticians, who are committed to providing the best possible service to their community.

'We appreciate that times are tough for everyone but it is vital that everyone continues to maintain their regular eyecare, so we have made sure that we offer the best value with prices starting at £25 for complete spectacles, including single vision Pentax lenses. We have also seen a big increase in NHS customers, but at Specsavers even those who can't make use of an NHS voucher can have a free eye examination and 30% off glasses if aged 60 or over. For children, Specsavers eyecare is free.'




Specsavers notes to editors                                               

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their eldest son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,200 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group is forecast to reach a record £1.05 billion for the financial year 2008/9
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the seventh year running by Reader's Digest in 2008
  • One in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers Opticians - eight and a half million glasses were sold during 2007
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Diabetes UK, for whom they have raised more than £250,000 to fund research into diabetic retinopathy
  • Since 2003 a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas for use in developing countries


*GfK Home Audit (Dec 2007)