NEW YORK— It was a busy year in 2016 across the U.S. optical industry. Spurred by an active private equity community and an evolving competitive framework, consolidation was once again among the key business trends in the sector. Many independent and regional retail/practice groups came under the umbrella of new ownership, which led to a reshuffling among the larger retail players in the industry.
As a result, there is a new positioning among the regional and national optical players within the 2017 Vision Monday Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailer’s Report, which was issued earlier this week. The rankings are exclusively based on 2016 calendar-year sales in the U.S. market.
Vision Source, which operates as a franchisor with 3,344 locations, reported collective revenues of $2,632 million in 2016, bringing it to the No. 1 position on Vision Monday’s list for the first time. Vision Source, which was acquired by Essilor in 2015, had 3,262 locations in the year-ago period and overall revenues from its locations of $2,511.5 million.
Luxottica Retail, which has held that top spot for many years, ranked No. 2 in the new report. VM’s estimates for revenues across Luxottica Retail optical stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico were $2,400 million for the calendar year 2016. The company strategically re-evaluated its mix, design and approach in the U.S. market last year, closing some underperforming stores, many within Sears’ locations, and embarking on a store refurbishment and new store design for LensCrafters, among other changes.
The No. 3 spot once again went to Wal-Mart Stores, with VM estimated sales of $1,733 million, which included Wal-Mart operated optical centers and the company’s Sam’s Club optical departments.
National Vision Inc., at No. 4 on the list, generated VM estimated sales of $1,150 million for the period, breaking through the $1 billion mark for its estimated 943 locations across its brands and formats.
Just under the $1 billion plateau, Costco Wholesale’s optical business came in at No. 5 with sales of $961 million from 491 locations, while Visionworks of America maintained its No. 6 position with sales of $917.9 million from 748 stores.
MyEyeDr./Capital Vision Services holds the No. 7 spot with sales of $411 million for the year after an expansion to 318 locations from 205 at the end of 2015. Refac Optical Group, at No. 8, generated sales of $280 million from its 780 locations in a range of retail formats.
EyeCare Partners, which grew from 129 locations to 230 in the year period, jumped from its No. 11 ranking last year to No. 9 with sales of $275 million. Eyemart Express Ltd., which grew to 182 locations in 2016, generated sales of $245 million in the period and stands at No. 10.
VM’s Top 10 U.S. Optical Retailers comprised an estimated 31.6 percent of the total U.S. optical market’s retail revenues of $34.9 billion in 2016.
A look at the complete ranking of the 50 leading optical retailers in the U.S., Snapshots of the Top 10, a focused look at seven mass merchants and wholesale clubs’ optical business, along with other industry statistics is posted in the full report. The report appears within the digital and print May 15 editions of Vision Monday as well as on Vision Monday’s website. PDFs of this year’s report along with prior year’s Top 50 reports are also on the site.