VM REPORTS: Top 50 Retailers VM's 2022 Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers Report: Recovery and Recalibration 2021 Brings Growth and New Investments By Marge Axelrad and Mark Tosh Wednesday, June 29, 2022 1:00 AM RELATED CONTENT A 2021 Sales Comeback, Combined With Acquisitions and New Entrants, Shape VM’s 2022 Top 50 The Top 50 and Leading Optical Mass Merchants Saw Major Sales Gains in 2021 Key Optical Players Ranked by U.S. Sales in 2021 Mass Merchants and Clubs Saw a Healthy 2021 Optical Sales Performance Snapshots of Optical’s 10 Largest U.S. Retail Players View a PDF of this year's Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers 2022 View a PDF of last year's Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers 2021 NEW YORK—After the shock of the 2020 pandemic and the slow build back to some semblance of stability by the end of that year, the leading U.S. optical retailers and companies, both national and regional groups, came back in 2021 with a solid mid-to-high double digit performance overall. While the 2020 year was characterized as working past store and office closures to “craft a comeback,” as VM noted in our 2021 Top 50, the 12 months of 2021 were marked by tightening up operations, accelerating new digital technologies to power operations and to demonstrate new ideas to consumers and patients. Companies reconsidered initiatives like more online sales choices or remote eyecare. The VM Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers are facing new headwinds in 2022 due to record-high inflation, staffing challenges for eyecare professionals and dispensing and office staff, as well as a general economy (and global economy impacting sourcing and supply chain) that is veering into recession territory as of this writing. Nevertheless, in 2021 leading optical players on the delivery side, collectively, have experienced organic expansion, the shoring up of operations due to internal focus, 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, others who are looking to focus on patient care and turn over the challenges of practice management to other organizations. 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, adapting to the notion of refining operations as well as coping with constant change.