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Specsavers reports record business year

Annual review highlights £2bn in Supersaver group revenue

Exterior of a Specsavers Opticians practice

Specsavers has reported a record business year, with more than £2bn in group revenue highlighted in its 2014–2015 annual review.

The review reports that the group sold 17 million pairs of spectacles and had 31 million customers during the specified year. It also raised £2.2m for charity.

Specsavers credited the record business to its focus on “passion, people and purpose” as the key pillars to its success during its 30 years on the High Street.

The report reveals that the multiple employs 30,000 staff. Following the appointment of more than 600 optometrists in 2014, Specsavers expects to have recruited a similar number of optometrists by the end of this year.

The multiple expects the business to continue to expand, leading to a recruitment drive for dispensing opticians, optical assistants and retail staff. The right candidates will also have the opportunity to progress to joint venture partners, it said.

Specsavers joint group chief executive, Doug Perkins, and his wife, Dame Mary, founded Specsavers on a joint venture partnership model, which sees each store part-owned and managed by its directors, as shareholders in the business.

Mr Perkins said: “With more than 2,300 partners worldwide, it is absolutely clear that our business model is a winner, but the success of the business goes deeper than our partners. It is also down to the hard work and talent of the store teams and support office colleagues, who work passionately, day in, day out, to deliver fantastic service to our customers.”

Apprenticeships 

The review also reports that since launching its optical apprenticeship scheme in 2013, more than 200 people have enrolled on the one-year course.

This summer 550 final-year optometry students will complete summer placements in Specsavers stores nationwide, with a further 400 graduates starting their pre-reg training with the group. This equates to 60% of all UK optometry graduates.

Specsavers director of professional recruitment, Chris Howarth, commented: “Supporting and developing good people is a key priority for Specsavers, and it’s important that we offer our employees the opportunity to reach their maximum potential.” 

Mr Howarth continued: “For existing staff, we have developed a career ladder tool which helps to guide staff on the relevant training and development, to help them to progress through the business.

“At a higher level, we have developed the Pathway programme, which seeks to provide a knowledge and development platform for optically experienced staff who aspire to be future joint venture partners.” 

The review also highlights the “significant role” that IT is playing in driving the business forward, with investments in the latest eye care and retail technology.

Store layouts have been updated, with customers greeted and registered on tablet devices, which are also used to measure and dispense their spectacles.

The measuring and dispensing process, which Specsavers calls Digital Precision Eyecare, was rolled out across the group earlier this year.

Specsavers director of professional advancement, Giles Edmonds, explained: “We are embracing the most the most up-to-date technology and retail philosophies as a means of delivering an exceptional customer experience and working environment for our staff.”

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