Updated Holiday Forecast Shows E-commerce Sales Gaining, But Brick-and-Mortar Retail Will Decline

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 2:13 PM NEW YORK—Despite what should be “historic headwinds,” eMarketer said that for 2020 it is now projecting “marginally positive holiday season growth rates” amid unprecedented channel-shifting behavior. In short, ecommerce’s impressive showing in 2020 will make up for a sizable deficit at brick-and-mortar retail.

The research firm said it anticipates total U.S. retail sales for the November–December holiday period hitting $1.013 trillion, an increase of 0.9 percent compared with last year and the second-ever season to eclipse the $1 trillion mark.

“This growth rate is the lowest since 2008, when the holiday season was in the throes of the financial crisis,” Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer’s principal analyst at Insider Intelligence and author of the recent report, “Holiday Shopping 2020,” said in a recent eMarketer post.

“Nevertheless, it’s a positive story to achieve growth at all, given the current economic backdrop,” he said.
There’s more to the story, though, the firm noted.

Brick-and-mortar sales—which will account for 81.2 percent of total U.S. holiday retail—are expected to decline 4.7 percent this holiday season, while e-commerce will jump 35.8 percent, according to eMarketer.

Despite the brick-and-mortar channel’s expected drop, results could be much worse. Data from Placer.ai, a location analytics firm, indicates that retail foot traffic has been in double-digit negative territory every month since the beginning of the pandemic. Even as foot traffic has rebounded in recent months—in September, weekly retail foot traffic varied between declines of 13 percent and 17 percent—foot traffic fell well below the 4.7 percent holiday sales decline we expect.

Kala Pharmaceuticals Announces FDA Approval of Dry Eye Drug

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 12:27 AM Kala Pharmaceuticals announces FDA approval of dry eye drug, Prevent Blindness declares November as diabetes-related eye disease month, optical sales remain flat, Sterling Vision acquires Cascade Vision Center, and Blanchard and CooperVision Specialty EyeCare support GlobalEyes podcast all topped this week’s VMAIL news feed. Click on the headlines below to catch up on anything you might have missed.

Transitions and OAC Now Accepting Applications for 2020 Students of Vision Scholarship Program

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 12:25 AM As part of a partnership to support the next generation of eyecare professionals, Transitions Optical and the Opticians Association of Canada (OAC) are now accepting submissions for the 2020 Students of Vision Scholarship Program.

Kala Pharmaceuticals Announces FDA Approval of Dry Eye Drug

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 12:24 AM WATERTOWN, Mass.—Kala Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KALA), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for diseases of the eye, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Eysuvis (loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension) 0.25% for the short-term (up to two weeks) treatment of the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease.

VSP Global and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation Announce 2020 Practice Excellence Scholarship Recipients

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 12:21 AM RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Global and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), announced the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarship.

Eyemart Express Focuses on Military Hiring and 20 Percent Discount for Veterans Day

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 12:18 AM DALLAS—With approximately 8 percent of veterans finding themselves unemployed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics, optical retailer Eyemart Express will team up with the U.S. Army's Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) to work on programs that seek to reduce this statistic.

Bausch Health to Reduce Debt By $150 Million Using Cash Generated From Operations

By Staff
Friday, October 30, 2020 12:12 AM LAVAL, Quebec—Bausch Health Companies Inc. (NYSE/TSX: BHC) announced this week that on Nov. 30, 2020, it will redeem approximately $100 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.875% senior notes due 2023, representing the entire outstanding amount of the 5.875% notes and approximately $50 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.50% senior notes due 2023. The redemptions will be accomplished by using cash generated from operations, according to the announcement. In August, Bausch Health announced that it plans to spin off its Bausch + Lomb eye health business into an independent publicly traded entity separate from the remainder of Bausch Health, as VMAIL reported. 

Is Halloween Losing Its Luster?

By Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2020 2:41 PM Maybe 2020 has been scary enough. In a recent Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll, about half of the respondents said that they will continue decorating their offices as they traditionally have for Halloween this year, but the spirit of the holiday seems a little pale this year. Interestingly, just more than one-third of the respondents (35 percent) said that office staff will be dressing up for Halloween this year, just like always, and an identical percentage said they would not be dressing up. 

About 6 percent said that the office staff usually does dress up but will be foregoing that this year. Another 24 percent said it’s an individual choice; there’s no coordinated Halloween skullduggery, but people can choose whether to dress up.

The spell of Halloween decorating is a little stronger, with 50 percent of the respondents to the Pop-up Poll saying that they will decorate, same as usual, and 9 percent saying that their decorations may be bigger and better this year as a way to add some extra fun into a difficult year.

Click here to read the full story from Women In Optometry.

Yes, We’re Thinking About the Holidays Already

By Gwendolyn Plummer
Thursday, October 29, 2020 9:39 AM NEW YORK—Yes, I know, it’s not even November yet. But I’m a Virgo: I like to be prepared, and I love to have a game plan—and so do small businesses. As we begin to approach what is sure to be a very different holiday season than the ones we’re used to, many small businesses across the country have joined the campaign to Shop Early, Shop Local, which encourages consumers to get their holiday shopping done ahead of time and to support local businesses in the process. This week, we’re taking a look at how different small businesses across the country are promoting this idea—giving you plenty of inspiration to get your practice on board, too.

Prevent Blindness Declares November as Diabetes-Related Eye Disease Month

By Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:33 AM CHICAGO—Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020, shows that 34.2 million Americans have diabetes and 88 million American adults have prediabetes. Alarmingly, more people are developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes during their youth, and racial and ethnic minorities continue to develop type 2 diabetes at higher rates. The CDC also states that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults, according to an announcement from Prevent Blindness.

Eyeing Telehealth’s Rapid Rise in Optometry, AOA Updates its Stance

By Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:30 AM ST. LOUIS—Responding to the rapid rise of telehealth-based care among U.S. optometrists, many of whom began using the technology to remain connected with patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the American Optometric Association(AOA) is shifting its stance toward virtual vision care.

CVS Health’s Prescription Renewal Platform Draws Strong Reaction from AOA and ECPs

By Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:27 AM WOONSOCKET, R.I.—CVS Health’s announcement this week that its CVS Pharmacy division has launched an online prescription renewal service for contact lenses has prompted strong reaction from ECPs across social media and has drawn a rebuke from the American Optometric Association (AOA).

Matteo Mohwinckel Appointed International Sales Director of Italia Independent

By Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:25 AM Matteo Mohwinckel has assumed the role of international sales director of Italia Independent, reporting directly to CEO Marco Cordeddu.

FYidoctors Acquires High Park Optometry as It Continues Growth Across the Greater Toronto Area

By Staff
Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:21 AM CALGARY, Alberta—FYidoctors, a leading optometrist-controlled eyecare company, has added High Park Optometry to its growing list of optometric clinics in the province of Ontario.

Social Media Calendars, Tools and Templates Can Help Small Businesses Plot a Marketing Strategy

By Staff
Wednesday, October 28, 2020 3:07 PM NEW YORK—In a recent blog post on HubSpot, marketing guru Sopia Bernazzani outlines 11 ways social media calendars, tools and templates can help small businesses plan their marketing content. Bernazzani said, “By now, most marketers recognize that social media plays an integral role in an effective inbound marketing strategy. And with so many social networks to manage and publish on, it's important to stay organized and have a plan for when and what you're going to share on these platforms.” Here are three highlights from Bernazzani’s blog post.