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Story of the first one-stop total eye care center


In 1961, Dr. Stanley Pearle had the idea to a store that combined a complete eye exam, an extensive selection of frames and corrective lenses, and convenient store hours. Pearle could not possibly have foreseen that his first one-stop total eye care center located in Savannah, Georgia, would grow into Pearle Vision Center.eye care center

Cole National Corporation acquired Pearte Vision Center in 1996 from Grand Metropolitan. In 2004, Milan-based Luxottica Group SpA (the owner of LensCrafters Inc. and the Sunglass Hut International chains, as well as Ray-Ban, Revo, and other premium brands) purchased Cole National in a $441 million transaction. At the time of the merger, Cole National with its Pearle Vision franchises had close to 3,000 locations with pos hardware system in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This deal joined the two largest eyeglass retailing companies in America.

In addition to Pearle Vision, Luxottica Group SpA (the parent company) sells eye-wear through its Sears Optical, BJs Optical, Target Optical, and Cole Managed Vision (which markets eyecare directly to major employers) units. The large number of different types of sites gives Luxottica the ability to market its products to different segments, as well as clout in negotiating with its key vendors. Luxottica recently signed licensing agreements with Prada, Versace, Donna Karan, and Dolce & Gabbana.

Despite the large size of Luxottica and the power of mass retailers that sell optical products, the U.S. eyeglass/sunglass market is still highly fragmented, with independent retailers accounting for about 45 percent of sales.

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