Now I’m sure everyone has heard of Specsavers… This business that was setup over 25 years ag0 (1984) by founders Doug and Mary Perkins. It was only in the early 1980s the business was able to begin advertising their products. This was due to the UK Government deregulating professionals, including opticians, allowing them to advertise their products and services.

Naturally Specsavers seized the opportunity and opened their first Specsavers, value-for-money, quality eyecare opticians in Guernsey and Bristol, followed shortly by stores in Plymouth, Swansea and Bath. They aimed to offer a wide range of stylish, fashionable glasses at affordable prices for everyone. They wanted the company to be seen as trustworthy an optician as a local independent but with the huge buying power of a national company that meant savings could be passed on to the customer.

The company has grown rapidly since, thriving with its joint venture partnership approach to eyecare. It hit the milestone of 100 stores in July 1988, 200 in 1993, 300 in 1995, 400 in 2000, 500 in 2003, 600 in 2004 and 700 in 2005. The first Netherlands store opened in 1997, the first Swedish in 2004, and 2005 saw the first in Denmark and Norway. In 2006 the first store was opened in Spain, and in 2007 the company began supplying in Australia whilst opening the first store in Finland. In January 2008 Dame Mary Perkins opened the 1000th store in Roosendaal, Holland, followed by the launch on the first three Specsavers stores in Australia in March. By July 2009 there were 173 in Australia plus 24 in New Zealand.

For the past eight years it has been voted Britain’s most-trusted brand of opticians by Reader’s Digest. The current straplines ‘Number One Choice For Eye Tests’ and ‘Number One Choice For Contact Lenses’ reflect its position as market leader. Specsavers’ range includes Tommy Hilfiger, Red or Dead, fcuk, Bench, Quiksilver, Roxy, Jasper Conran and Missoni, as well as the market leading Osiris designer brand. Our frames are developed using the latest innovative manufacturing and design techniques from the highest quality components and raw materials available. The full range of over 2,000 size and colour options is structured around a comprehensive features and benefits pricing structure, starting from £25 through to £169. Our own lens manufacturing laboratories – three of the largest in Europe – supply the latest high-tech lenses in volume at the lowest possible cost. All Specsavers frames come with free Single Vision Pentax lenses as standard.

Specsavers is also the retail market leader in contact lenses, with its own brand of easyvision monthly and daily disposable lenses, and has also driven the use of continuous-wear lenses. Currently one out of every three UK contact lenses wearers chooses Specsavers. Furthermore, Specsavers is the largest provider of home-delivery contact lenses in Europe through its Lensmail service.

Specsavers is bringing its core offers to its rapidly expanding hearing service, which is now doing for hearing what the retailer has already achieved in optics – dramatically reducing prices and waiting times and making audiology services more accessible for everyone. Specsavers is already the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and offers a hearing service from over 400 locations.

The company continues to expand. From just two staff working at that table-tennis table, there are now more than 500 based at Specsavers’ headquarters in Guernsey and around 26,000 worldwide. The company has more than 1390 stores across the Channel Islands, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.