EssilorEssilor International has expanded its presence in online distribution with an agreement to acquire Canadian vision care retailer Coastal.com for C$430m.

Coastal.com designs and distributes a wide range of optical equipment including contact lenses, prescription and non-prescription frames, sunglasses and accessories. Its key territory is North America, but it also operates in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Brazil. It reported revenue of C$218m for the fiscal year ended October 31 2013.

Essilor said the internet had an important role in helping the company fulfil its corporate objectives and that it had also diversified the consumer’s vision care purchasing process.

‘The internet, if used properly, can help to drive market growth by educating consumers and making it more convenient for them to enjoy good visual health,’ said Essilor International chairman and CEO Hubert Sagnières.

‘With Coastal.com, Essilor is acquiring a recognised online visioncare platform. Our commitment is to contribute to shape this distribution channel for the benefit of the entire industry as well as consumers.’

Essilor estimated that online sales accounted for 4 per cent of the global visioncare market, which it valued at $100bn based on retail prices. Double digit growth in this sector was expected to continue for the ‘foreseeable future’. Coastal.com joins Essilor’s other online subsidiaries FramesDirect, EyeBuyDirect and optician e-commerce tool MyOnlineOptical.

The transaction was expected to be completed by the end of April 2014.

? Financial results released last week showed that Essilor International’s like for like revenue, including acquisition bolt-ons, grew by 5.4 per cent in 2013 and its share of the worldwide lens market increased to 37 per cent of units. Performance in the UK was described as healthy.