MyOptique Group, the leading pan-European eyewear retailer, today unveiled expansion plans into Germany with the acquisition of Netzoptiker.
The move signals the continuation of a strong European expansion strategy for the company which is already the dominant player in the UK market as well as having a leading position in the Scandinavian market. The company recently received a €20m investment, bringing its latest funding round to €43m, much of which will be used for international expansion.
MyOptique Group has already been successfully selling into Germany through its sites www.de.sunglassesshop.com(sunglasses), www.lenson.com/de (contact lenses) and www.glassesdirect.com (prescription eyewear) but the Netzoptiker acquisition will enable the company to provide a highly localised and improved experience for German customers, particularly for the prescription glasses category.
The online market for prescription eyewear has substantial growth potential, as it is still very underdeveloped throughout Europe. Just 3% of purchases are made online in Germany (ZVA) compared to up to 20% for other retail categories.Germany is the largest market for prescription eyewear in Europe with more than 40m Germans wearing glasses.
MyOptique’s rapid sales growth to date is largely founded on innovation and value. Founded in 2004, Glasses Direct was the first in the sector to provide its customers with a home trial, enabling them to try up to four frames completely for free in the comfort of their home. MyOptique Group has also led the charge by introducing the first virtual mirror and investing in an in house laboratory, resulting in over 80% of glasses being shipped within 3 days of order. In its home market, Glasses Direct has saved the British Glasses wearing public £40 million to date.
Gross retail sales for the group for the year ended April 2014 were €42m, with prescription glasses turnover leading growth in the business and projected to grow by over 50% over the next 12 months. Non-UK sales now account for nearly two-thirds of turnover and the company has five offices throughout Europe. From its first significant injection of venture capital in 2009, the company has achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 53% over the last five years and has served over one million customers.
Netzoptiker was founded in 2008 by optician Dirk Meier, who will continue to work with MyOptique as a consultant to help manage the integration. The deal will see a major gear shift for Netzoptiker as it will gain access to MyOptique’s market leading product selection across all eyewear categories – prescription eyewear, contact lenses and sunglasses. MyOptique will ramp up marketing as well as introduce best practise to the site which will continue to be branded Netzoptiker.
MyOptique CEO Kevin Cornils, said: “This is a great opportunity for the MyOptique Group to bring its expertise and experience in the online optical market and great product to the existing Netzoptiker customer base and to German consumers. We believe our 10 years of experience in the market, customer-centric approach, and strong product propositions will position us well to improve the offering of Netzoptiker and improve its ability to grow in the German market.”