Kraftman launches optical chain, Retail Week

Michael Kraftman, former deputy chairman of Tempo, is staging a retail comeback as founder of a new optical chain which plans to revolutionise the market.
Kraftman has opened a pilot store at Colchester in Essex, under the Optical Revolution fascia. The store offers branded eyewear at a discount, and it is understood potential has been identified for a 200-strong chain.
The venture is thought to have been bankrolled by money made by Kraftman following the £130 million management buy-out of Tempo, led by his brother, Paul, last year.
Optical Revolution sells brands such as Chanel, Armani and Gucci, but keeps prices low by reducing the mark-up on lenses.
The retailer is saving on the cost of in-store optometrists by encouraging customers to have their eyes tested elsewhere and bring the prescription to Optical Revolution.
Along with Kraftman, there is understood to be three other founding partners, including commercial director Mike Nuttall, formerly sales director of Phones4U.
A rapid roll-out programme is likely once the team is satisfied that the Colchester pilot is an appropriate model.
According to market researcher Mintel, the market for spectacles grew in real terms by 14 per cent from 1995 to 2001, mostly thanks to the growth of designer names. That trend helped increase average transaction values.
Mike Nuttall declined to comment.

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