How VM’s Top 50 Optical Retailers List Is Compiled

The VM Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers report ranks the 50 leading companies in optical retailing, based on their revenues in the 2010 calendar year.

The VM Top 50 report is based on a survey of all major U.S. optical retailers, including information reported directly by chains and independent retailers and practitioners, interviews with company executives, published corporate documents and knowledgeable secondary sources. Access to a detailed questionnaire was placed on VM’s Web site, and made available through VM’s electronic newsletter, VMail. The questionnaire was also sent directly to leading U.S. optical retailers and eyecare practices to obtain their information. In addition, retailers and practices were contacted by telephone to follow up on the questionnaire.

In cases where corporate policy prevented companies from reporting retail volume or other information, various methods were used to reach accurate estimates for them. The history of each business was carefully analyzed, and the most knowledgeable and relevant secondary sources consulted. Averages pertinent to the geographic and market situations of each retailer or practice were also developed to fit its store or office types in producing these estimates.

U.S. sales figures for the VM Top 50 include revenues from both company-owned and franchised locations (if applicable), managed-vision-care revenues and shares of doctors’ or laser-surgery fees. In short, U.S. sales represent all money a company derives from optical products and services in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It is also important to keep in mind that sales volumes given on the VM Top 50 list reflect annual net sales for 2010, which may differ widely from retailers’ comparable-store sales for the same year.

The Top 50 Optical Retailers list published in this issue also shows different aggregate sales and unit totals for 2009 from those published in May 2010, since players on the list change from year to year due to industry consolidation or other factors.

If two companies have reported or been estimated the same sales for the year, the one with the smaller number of locations is ranked higher, reflecting its higher sales per unit in 2010. In cases where one retailer acquired another during the calendar year, the acquired company is listed separately if the acquisition took place during the fourth quarter, since sales earlier in the year are not attributable to the acquiring firm. When an acquisition occurs before the fourth quarter, the acquired retailer’s sales are combined with those of the acquiring company. 

—Cathy Ciccolella,

—Jennifer Zupnick,