The top UK optical chains 2017

Further consolidation of high street optics has already been witnessed this year following the sale of Tesco Opticians to Vision Express. Optician’s Jo Gallacher reports on the changing retail landscape, with a round-up of the top dozen chains with more than 20 high street locations


When Doug and Dame Mary Perkins, pictured below, opened the first Specsavers store back in Bristol in 1984, no one quite predicted just how much of an impact the business would have on the profession. Today, Specsavers is the world’s largest privately owned optical group with more than 1,800 stores operating in 10 countries. Each store is part-owned and managed by its own directors, who are then provided with support services including marketing, accounting, IT and wholesaling.

This year Specsavers furthered its enhanced optical services, opening up its first specialist eye treatment centre in Newport in January, which provides initial screening and referrals for people with symptoms of wet age-related macular degeneration. It has also announced this week the addition of OCTs to each of its UK stores.

Boots Opticians

With more than 600 branches across the UK, Boots Opticians is one of the top three multiples in the optical industry. De Rigo owns a 42% minority interest which it obtained in 2009 after Boots Opticians merged with Dollond & Aitchison to create the second largest optical chain in the UK. In 2013, Boots Opticians became the first multiple optician in the UK to include digital retinal photography as a standard element of its eye test for customers of all ages.

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