Optical Express - Europe Expansion (Thanks to David Challinor - Reed Business Information Ltd)
Optical Express has entered continental Europe with the purchase of an optical company in the Netherlands, writes David Challinor. The acquisitive group, which bought Pagan Eyecare earlier this month, has now obtained Free Vision Euro Eyes laser vision correction clinics in Amsterdam and the Hague. The sizable outlets - they are 5,500sq ft and 3,200sq ft respectively - will now house Optical Express' full optometric offer as well as continuing to include laser eye surgery. The deal marks the first large-scale UK optical chain to extend its laser vision correction business in Holland. In addition, the news offers an intriguing competition for the Dutch consumer between Optical Express and its fellow UK multiple rival Specsavers Opticians which also has outlets in the two cities and operates under the name of Specsavers Opticiens. Last week Free Vision's branded website was closed after it amalgamated with Optical Express' electronic presence. 'We are delighted to conclude this latest acquisition as it further confirms our intention to become Europe's leading provider of laser vision correction,' said Optical Express chief executive David Moulsdale. 'The concentration and density of the populations in the Netherlands' key cities has focused our attention. Also, the accessibility and close proximity to the UK, along with the significant investment - in excess of e2m - in establishing the two clinics, attracted us.' Moulsdale commented that his company, which now has approaching 170 outlets, would continue to look to grow via acquisition.