A year of growth

Specsavers marks record year for footfall and revenue as its co-founders mark 50 years since qualification

Specsavers co-founders, Doug and Mary Perkins

More people are “choosing and trusting” Specsavers than ever before, according to the multiple’s 2015–16 Annual Review which was published this week (1 August).

In the 12-month review period, during which the optical chain was named the UK’s best High Street retailer for customer service by the Institute of Customer Service, customer numbers increased by 5% in the UK. In addition, more than 700,000 people received eye care through Specsavers’ domiciliary arm, Healthcall.

Paired with customer growth, the multiple, which has 1800 practices globally, saw revenue increase by 5.8%, taking its worldwide revenue to £2.18bn. Of this figure, the UK accounts for £1.24bn.

The 48-page review also reveals that during the 12-month period, the multiple, which has stores in 10 countries around the world, sold 19.5 million frames and 400 million contact lenses.

As a business, Specsavers practices and support offices devote time to raising funds for charitable causes and this year raised £2.5m worldwide. In the UK, £950,000 was raised for charities such as Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Furthermore, marking the 20th year of its Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition, the initiative raised £80,000 for the anti-bullying charity, Kidscape.

As co-founders, Doug and Mary Perkins donated £555,000 to a number of national and international charities, including Vision Aid Overseas and Vision Care for Homeless People.

Enhanced services

Specsavers placed a significant focus on community-based enhanced services this year, with optometrist and co-founder Doug Perkins attending 100% Optical to address delegates about the benefits of up-skilling to offer enhanced services.

Establishing ‘Specsavers Enhanced Eyecare,’ the initiative aims to support the delivery of community-based enhanced services, taking pressure off GPs and hospital eye services. It will ensure that Specsavers practices and staff “have the right level of accreditation to treat minor eye care conditions,” the annual review reports. The group will also work to raise awareness of these services among the public.

Commenting on the evolution of the sector, Doug and Mary Perkins (pictured), who both celebrated 50 years since qualification this year, said: “We have seen a huge amount of change along the way. Despite this, emergent technology and increasing customer demands require optical providers to continue evolving to remain successful.

“Our partners are in a prime position to lead such change and define the optical profession of the future.”