By Cathy Ciccolella: Senior Contributing Editor
NEW YORK—Although the U.S. economy continued to lag throughout
2009, the nation’s 50 largest eyewear/eyecare retailers managed to
produce aggregate optical sales approaching a record $7.3 billion last
year. As a group, these high-volume retail players achieved combined
revenues estimated at $7,288.8 million in calendar 2009, according to
VM’s exclusive Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers listing.
That strong sales performance during 2009, despite the recession,
brought these retailers’ combined share of the overall U.S. vision-care
business to 28.7 percent of last year’s $25,389 million total U.S.
market for vision-care products and services sold at optical retail
locations, as estimated by VisionWatch, a joint venture of Jobson
Optical Group and The Vision Council.
These key eyewear/eyecare players operated an estimated 9,798
retail units as of Dec. 31, 2009, reflecting continuing growth for most
of the largest players on the VM Top 50 list: seven of the 10
retailers on this year’s list show an increase in store count over their
2008 unit count.
Also on this year’s VM Top 50 list, the Top 10 retailers have
estimated combined volume of $6,379.3 million, representing 87.5 percent
of the Top 50 retailers’ overall sales.