Optician sets sights on expansion

High Street optician Optical Revolution is to expand following the success of pilot stores in Norwich and Colchester.
An initial £1million has been raised by the issue of five million ordinary shares to fund the first round of acquisitions.
This is intended to mark the beginning of a four-stage plan to acquire up to 300 stores that will compete with major optical retailers such as Specsavers and Dollond and Aitchison.
Optical Revolution’s first store opened in Colchester’s High Street in 2001, with the aim of testing the brand before launching it on a larger scale.
The group behind the venture, Optical Partners plc, now plans to grow the chain through the acquisition of individual and small groups of opticians ‘practices’, to which its distinctive brand will then be added.
The Optical Partners team includes non-executive chairman, Ken Piggott and executive chairman, Michael Kraftman, who have applied their considerable combined experience in the retail sector to the opticians market.
Until recently, Mr Piggott was responsible for all retail operations of Boots UK while Mr Kraftman is the former deputy chairman of Tempo Electrical.
Mr Kraftman said that the top four retail opticians in the UK had a combined market share of around 47%, a relatively low figure in comparison to other retail sectors.
A key differentiating factor between Optical Revolution and the competition was its all-in-one approach to pricing with frames and basic lenses included in one low price, he said.
During the second phase of expansion, Optical Revolution will float on the AIM and a further 30 to 35 store openings are planned. Phase three will add another 80 stores.

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