Pearle Vision Converts 13 Company-Owned Stores to Licensees With Plans for More

MASON, Ohio— Pearle Vision, a division of Luxottica Retail (NYSE: LUX), has signed licensing agreements to convert 13 of its company-owned eyecare centers to licensees. This is the result of the company’s 2013 expansion plans to re-license 34 company-owned centers in 10 states, as reported by VMail Jan. 21, 2013.

Four new licensees were established in Akron, Ohio; Exton, Pa.; Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Burnsville, Minn. Eight existing Pearle Vision licensees chose to expand their center ownership by licensing additional centers in Texas, N.J., Ga., Fla., Ohio and Puerto Rico. There are currently 611 eyecare centers located throughout North America.

“It's a testament to Pearle's 50-year legacy that we’ve received tremendous interest from both new licensees who want to join our growing brand and existing licensees who want to expand with additional eyecare centers,” said Srinivas Kumar, senior vice president and general manager, Pearle Vision. He told VMail, “Having existing operators buy a store is a great satisfaction, showing that they have confidence.” He said that his goal for the company is to build a billion-dollar company with 1,000 stores primarily owned by licensees.

To fuel further growth, the company is looking for optometrists interested in licensing opportunities. Pearle Vision licensees can expect their initial investment to build a new center to cost approximately $200,000, in addition to a licensing fee of $30,000.

In April, Pearle Vision also launched a major national re-branding campaign, including a new logo and website, a multimillion dollar television advertising campaign, and two new redesigned prototype Pearle Vision eyecare centers scheduled to debut later this summer. A Pearle Vision spokesperson told VMail that the first ground-up new store is scheduled to open in the Greater New York area by the end of August and that it will be owned by an existing licensee who already owns a couple of successful stores in the area. Another ground-up store is planned for the Midwest.

The re-branding campaign, reported by VMail April 19, 2013, was described not as a change but as an “evolution” by Doug Zarkin, VP, marketing. “It really is a new day at Pearle,” he told VMail.