VM REPORTS: Top 50 Retailers VM’s Signature Top 50 Optical Retailers Report Shows Sales Growth Across the Eyecare Sector and a Reordering Among Top 10 Groups By Staff Thursday, July 7, 2022 12:27 AM NEW YORK—In many ways, the year 2021 was a good year for the optical retail community, with the large eyecare organizations and even regional retail groups showing significant sales gains in the period even as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forced changes in operations and patients’ expectations. This general recovery across the sector came after the shock of the 2020 pandemic, and it was achieved through a slow build back to some semblance of stability. Indeed, the leading U.S. optical retailers and companies, both national and regional groups, achieved solid mid- to high-double-digit gains in sales performance overall, according to the recently issued VM Top 50 Optical Retailers report. In 2021, leading optical players on the delivery side, collectively, have experienced organic expansion, have shored up operations, and continued private-equity-backed expansion among some of the groups—coming from both the optometric and the ophthalmology sectors. Some have made acquisitions of larger regional groups. Others have grown throughout the year via practice transitions with independent ECPs, some who are looking to exit in the near term. These have changed the composition and ranking positions of several companies in VM’s Top 50, based on supplied information and VM estimates for calendar year sales in 2021. Some companies told VM they were bolstered by their professional, executive and managerial/ associates teams to persevere through the unique challenges brought on by the pandemic. Others used 2021 to recalibrate, prioritize new investments and reorient their thinking about how to compete in a “new” business environment. The new Top 50’s share of the total U.S. optical market sales of $38 billion as reported by The Vision Council’s VisionWatch for the year, saw that the Top 50 collectively generated sales of $18.0 billion or 47 percent of the market. The Top 10, though, got larger, many via acquisition, others through organic growth and comp-store gains, grew substantially, representing 39.6 percent of the total U.S. market’s sales, comprising $15.2 billion collectively per VM’s estimates. Mass merchant optical departments benefited from the uptick in general traffic to the stores they were in, and they saw sales of about $3.9 billion among them, or about 10 percent of the total U.S. market. Mass merchant optical departments benefited from the uptick in general traffic to the stores they were in, and they saw sales of about $3.9 billion among them, or about 10 percent of the total U.S. market. Not surprisingly, there also were changes among the Top 10 groups ranked by calendar year 2021 performance. And several sales milestones were set. National Vision exceeded $2 billion in sales as the company expanded its store count. MyEyeDr., with comp growth as well as some larger regional acquisitions plus smaller offices, broke through the $1 billion sales mark. At the top, Vision Source and Luxottica Retail retained their rankings at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. In addition, EyeCare Partners moved up to the No. 5 position from No. 7 in the prior year’s ranking, driven by its acquisitions of both MD and OD practices. Visionworks, part of VSP Vision, opened up new stores and grew sales. Keplr Vision, which continued its acquisition of doctor-led practices, moved into the Top 10 for the first time. And Warby Parker, which had been in the Top 10, based on its online and in-store sales, went public and for the first time released sales numbers for the year. Warby Parker maintained its No. 9 position.