Specsavers has scotched rumours of store closures around Australia. The company’s Director of Professional Services, Peter Larsen, told mivision that any closures were in fact re-locations or co-locations into areas that hold greater long-term commercial potential.
“When you grow from AUD$0 to $400m+ in four years, it’s natural that some competitors will be out there trying to whip up issues that don’t exist,” said Mr. Larsen. “But really, this is all about our business evolving. We stepped into Australia and opened over 100 stores very quickly to gain a strong market presence. Over the last four years, we have seen more than 400 individual franchise partners join our store-ownership program in Australia alone and we’ve built an incredibly strong rapport with them.
“We’ve also been able to step back and really analyse the strengths and weaknesses of our existing store locations. As a result, we’ve chosen to re-locate and co-locate some – it’s all about making good commercial sense,” he said.
When you look at the Specsavers store numbers, there’s not been much change. In the November 2011 issue of mivision we reported on the number of optical doors and market share in Australia in our article ‘Optical Landscape Data: Crystal Clear or Smoke and Mirrors’. In that report, we noted that Specsavers had 261 stores as of October 2011. As at May 2012, they had 264 optical outlets..
“Since we opened for business in 2008, there are just seven individual franchise partners that I can think of who have decided Specsavers is not for them – and when you consider we have more than 400 partners, that puts matters into perspective. We’ve helped them to sell their shares to incoming partners. There are currently no franchise agreements up for renewal.” Mr. Larsen said the typical initial term for the early adopters among Specsavers franchisees was seven years so they aren’t in renewal phase yet.