HAMBURG, Germany and GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Fielmann Group, a global eyewear provider, has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement in which its U.S. subsidiary, Fielmann USA, will acquire 100 percent equity ownership in Shopko Optical, an optical retailer based in Green Bay, Wis., from Monarch Alternative Capital LP. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, the group said, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Shopko Optical operates more than 140 stores across 13 states and generated $168 million in sales in 2023, according to the announcement.

Upon closing, Fielmann USA said that it intends to integrate Shopko Optical into its omni-channel platform that, following the completion of the transaction, would serve customers via digital sales channels and more than 220 retail practices across 19 states, predominantly in the Midwest.

In 2023, the Fielmann Group entered the U.S. market by acquiring online eyewear retailer Befitting as well as SVS Vision, an optical retailer that operates 80 stores across nine states with a market-leading position in Michigan.

 Marc Fielmann, CEO Fielmann Group (l) and Lukas Ruecker, CEO Fielmann USA.
“Fielmann’s purpose is to help everyone hear and see the beauty in the world. Our acquisition of Shopko Optical is in line with our Vision 2025 growth strategy to expand our business further internationally, particularly in the U.S. market,” said Marc Fielmann, CEO of the Fielmann Group. "This acquisition is the next step in our long-term plan to 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 helped shape the European eyewear market with its signature customer-centricity. Having integrated recent acquisitions, SVS Vision and Befitting, Fielmann USA today offers a unique omnichannel shopping experience for customers with vision insurance. The addition of Shopko Optical is going to enable us to make affordable quality eyewear and eyecare accessible to more people across the Midwest.”

In response to questions from VMAIL regarding plans for the operations and management of the Shopko Optical business or Fielmann's potential plans for further expansion in the U.S., Ruecker provided this statement to VMAIL: “Please note that today marked the signing of the transaction. As per legal requirements we can only make forward-looking statements regarding Shopko Optical upon closing. The closing depends on regulatory approval and we expect it in Q3/2024.

"In the meantime, what I can say is that the Fielmann Group’s purpose is to make everyone hear and see the beauty in the world. As part of our Vision 2025 growth plan, we have invested and will continue to invest in redefining what patients can expect of eyecare and eyewear in the U.S. At the heart of this are our people, in particular our skilled teams in the stores and our outstanding doctors.

“As Marc Fielmann has made clear during the recent annual press conference, yes, we have invested and we will continue to invest—in our people, our omnichannel sales network and in the required support services including labs. Our focus remains the Midwest,” Ruecker said.