Hats off to Specsavers this week with the announcement of its latest foreign foray.
There appears to be no stopping the Guernsey giant at the moment. No sooner has it passed one milestone, won an award or such like, than it lines up its next target.
This week's news from the multiple (see page 5) is that it has moved into the Norwegian market. The opening of the first practice next week is to be followed by a further 20 outlets before September and ultimately 60 Specsavers Optikk stores.
Norway's 2.3 million eyewear users' average eyewear spend is some £277, compared with a 2003 figure for the UK of £144. Entry into such markets using a UK model represents clear opportunities.
Irksome as this may be to the incumbent professionals within such high-value markets, globalisation of business is an unstoppable force. For once Britain appears to be on the right side of the competition equation.
Deregulation and liberalisation enabled Specsavers' epiphany. Its existence in the UK market has made us a model for other countries and a leader and innovator in retail optics.
It would not be going too far to say that the success and competitive pressure brought by Specsavers has forced its competitors to be leaner, fitter and
Putting to one side the discomfort this may have brought to individual
professionals and optical businesses, the benefits for the profession and spectacle-wearing public are evident.