Self-confidence isn’t a renowned British trait, and even less so in optics, so it’s nice this week to get a positive international perspective on the UK retail optical business.

The first opportunity comes via Arnaud Dupont, the incoming boss of Nikon UK. In a wide-ranging interview with Optician, Dupont provides an update on Nikon Optical and its plans to engage with optical practices. Dupont is a big hitter in Nikon’s global marketing team and it is telling that he should end up running the UK operation. It’s no accident; the UK is seen by the Nikon top brass in Japan as a region with prospects and Dupont has some good things to say about us Brits.

He has some lessons for the UK imparting the cultural differences which see innovation flourish in Japan. But he also has great admiration for the UK’s ability to want to replicate best practice.

The massive Mido optical show took place in Milan recently where more plaudits for the UK market issued from a number of frame firms. Blackfin is a great eyewear success story having built itself up from a faceless manufacturer of other people’s products into the owner of its own brand. Its boss, Nicola Del Din, is a character who is passionate about his brand. At the show there was a veritable scrum at Blackfin’s Spiritual Renaissance campaign launch which was held amid the sound of corks popping and a tsunami of air kisses.

That didn’t mean Del Din didn’t have the time to impress on me his plans for the UK. He said he had been mistaken in thinking the UK was all about the chains. He admits to being wrong and expressed excitement at the prospect of working with UK independents.