Merringtons’ Optometrists, one of the long running optometry chains in Australia, has closed its doors for the last time.
After the sudden closure of the majority of their stores, son of company owner, James Merrington, has confirmed that this move marks the end of Merringtons.
From a one practice business in 1899, Merringtons Optometrists expanded to 50 practices in 2006, to claim it was “the largest Australian owned optometry chain taking care of over nine million pairs of eyes”.
Today though, it’s a far cry from the success it once was. Merringtons has closed its remaining 13 stores: six in New South Wales, three in Queensland, three in Victoria and the sole store in Western Australia – without notice. Along with the stores, Merringtons’ head office, warehouse and prescription laboratory in Victoria have been closed and the staff have been dismissed, including optometrists, optical dispensers, receptionists and head office warehouse and laboratory staff.
These sudden closures came as a shock to the staff in local practices who, we have been informed, “were told nothing”.
Three of the former Merrington owned stores are now owned by Mr. James Merrington, the son of Peter Merrington, the owner of the Merrington company. These stores are in Victoria, being in Northcote, Niddrie and Melton.
mivision spoke to Mr. James Merrington about the end of Merringtons who said: “Merringtons is in liquidation and will not be moving forward as a company. The company doing the liquidating is Lawler Draper Dillon. Although I have purchased the remaining three stores in Victoria, they are not trading under the ‘Merringtons’ name (one of the stores is trading under Blink) … the stores may still have the Merringtons logo out the front, but this is just because we haven’t removed it as yet.”
There have been claims that several of the Merringtons’ Optometrists stores had already been closed by shopping-centre managers due to failure to pay rent.
The matter is reminiscent of what happened with Australian Ophthalmic Supplies, a company within the Merringtons group, which ended up going into voluntary receivership and later voluntary liquidation and was eventually deregistered. Creditors were owned more than AUD$5 million and did not receive any of the amounts claimed. AOS entering into voluntary administration marked the end of them being a part of the Merringtons group who continued to operate its 20-plus optometric stores.