New franchising opportunity in eye-wear

Giant global optical retailer Luxottica Group has announced it will start franchising its OPSM and Laubman & Pank brands in Australia in 2008.

The company acquired OPSM in 2003 for $580 million in 2003 and US-based sports eyewear maker Oakley for $2.3 billion in June, and now has 970 stores in the Asia- Pacific region, according to a newspaper report. Other brands include Sunglass Hut and Bright Eyes.

The group plans further expansion through buying independent operators and opening franchised stores operated by independent optometrists, especially in regional areas where there is an undersupply of optometrists.

Luxottica, which turned over nearly $1 billion this year, has called for expressions of interest from the 650 optometrists employed within its own network and independent optometrists.

The eyewear market is worth about $1.4 billion in Australia and has been growing about 2% a year for five years.

More details of the plan will be released in February or March 2008. The company has reportedly not yet decided whether to franchise its existing 145 Laubman & Pank and 280 OPSM stores.


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