BUSINESS: Retailers Fielmann Group Closes U.S. Acquisition of SVS Vision, Upgrades FY 2023 Outlook By Staff Friday, September 1, 2023 12:24 AM HAMBURG, Germany and DETROIT—The Fielmann Group (ETR: FIE), a leading European eyewear retailer, said it closed on its acquisition of SVS Vision yesterday. The complementary acquisition of online retailer Befitting had already closed in June. These previously reported acquisitions constitute an important milestone in the internationalization that the German family business is pursuing with its Vision 2025 growth strategy, the announcement noted, adding "U.S. acquisitions constitute the first step in a long-term plan to empower U.S. eyewear customers."SVS Vision is consolidated as part of the Fielmann Group from Sept. 1, 2023 onward, amounting to the addition of four business months in 2023 but also carrying acquisition costs of several million euros. Therefore, the U.S. business contribution to Group EBITDA will be negligible in 2023 but significantly improve in 2024, the company noted, as it raised its fiscal year guidance with the announcement.Marc Fielmann, CEO of Fielmann Group, stated, “Fielmann’s purpose is to help everyone hear and see the beauty in the world. With SVS Vision and Befitting we are thrilled to welcome 676 new colleagues who join our family business. Together we embark on a journey that will redefine what U.S. consumers can expect of eyecare and eyewear.”Lukas Ruecker, CEO of Fielmann USA, Inc., added, “Over its 50 year history, the Fielmann Group has shaped the European eyewear market with its signature customer centricity. Now that we have closed on SVS Vision, known for its friendly service, great people and long-standing heritage, we can integrate it with Befitting‘s exceptional digital platform and outstanding talent. Together, they will provide an empowering experience for U.S. customers.”With the closing announcement, Fielmann Group raised its fiscal year 2023 outlook. "In an environment shaped by high inflation and low consumer confidence levels, the Fielmann Group is developing favorably as customers opt for the price leader. Considering the strong performance in our existing European markets and the contribution of our new acquisitions in the United States of America, we upgrade our outlook for 2023."We expect external sales (incl. VAT and inventory changes) of about €2.3 billion. This corresponds to about +13 percent growth over last year (previously, this was 7 percent to 10 percent over last year). Consolidated sales are expected to reach approximately €2.0 billion. EBITDA is planned to grow disproportionately, reaching a value of about €400 million (+18 percent over last year; previously 9 percent to 21 percent over last year). Earnings before taxes (EBT) are expected to reach more than €190 million, corresponding to a growth of +18 percent as well."Fielmann's statement noted, "Looking forward, we are optimistic that our Vision 2025 investments will continue to drive our topline growth while our Cost Leadership Program puts us on track to reach the margin levels communicated as part of our Vision 2025 strategic growth plan."The Fielmann Group serves 28 million customers via its omnichannel platform consisting of digital sales channels and about 1,000 retail stores. Founded in 1972, it is led by Marc Fielmann, representing the second generation of the Fielmann family who still owns the majority of the company’s stock.By making fashionable eyewear affordable and staying true to its customer-centric values, the Fielmann Group is consistently reaching customer satisfaction and retention rates of more than 90 percent and has to-date fitted more than 170 million pairs of individual prescription glasses. The family business employs about 23,000 people worldwide.SVS Vision is an optical retailer based in Mt. Clemens, Mich. The company is the market leader in the state of Michigan and operates a total of more than 80 stores across nine U.S. states. The business employs around 650 people and generated more than $100 million in external sales in fiscal year 2022. SVS Vision also owns and operates its own optical laboratory as well as a vision insurance.Befitting (Eyevious Style, Inc.) is a technology provider and online optical retailer "that makes eyewear shopping with vision insurance fun and easy. "The company employs 26 specialists in Canada and the U.S.