LAS VEGAS--Luxury Optical Holdings (LOH) has reached an agreement to purchase the three upscale Au Courant Opticians eyewear boutiques in Bal Harbour, Fla.; Troy, Mich.; and Princeton, N.J. Au Courant, founded by H.W. Bennett, OD, has targeted the luxury sector of the optical industry for the past 39 years.

Terms of the deal, expected to close by May 1, were not disclosed.

Pierre Keyser, LOH’s chief executive officer, said the Au Courant name will be retained on the three stores for the immediate future. Bennett and Au Courant president Nancy DiCosmo will act in an advisory capacity during the transition, he noted.

The Au Courant acquisition comes on the heels of LOH’s purchase in early March of a single Palm Beach Eyes store, located on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla. With those two acquisitions, LOH now has 51 locations in 15 markets.

Said Keyser, “We will continue to consolidate the luxury segment of the optical industry by acquiring ‘the best of the best’ and continuing to open new stores in key markets in the U.S.” He said five new stores are currently under construction in San Bernadino and Topanga, Calif; Las Vegas; and in Roosevelt Field mall on Long Island, N.Y., all expected to open within three to four months.

Additional LOH locations are planned by the end of this year, through both acquisition and new store openings, Keyser added. DiCosmo told VM negotiations for the Au Courant acquisition were brief. “Last year was our best year ever, with double-digit increases in all three locations, and Dr. Bennett decided it was time to go, on top,” she said. “We felt the Luxury Optical Holdings concept is exactly what this industry needs--it’s very forward-thinking, and we’re pleased to have our stores joining an elite group.”

DiCosmo said she and Bennett are now “ready for our next chapter--we absolutely plan to keep our fingers in the eyewear business, perhaps doing some consulting, and Dr. Bennett has been talking about writing a book. He still has some wonderful ideas.”   
--Cathy Ciccolella