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Thread: How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all

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    How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? Former industry execs tell all

    From the LA Times. March 5, 2019

    https://www.latimes.com/business/laz...305-story.html

    Charles Dahan knows from first-hand experience how badly people get ripped off when buying eyeglasses.


    He was once one of the leading suppliers of frames to LensCrafters, before the company was purchased by optical behemoth Luxottica. He also built machines that improved the lens-manufacturing process.


    In other words, Dahan, 70, knows the eyewear business from start to finish. And he doesn’t like what’s happened.


    “There is no competition in the industry, not any more,” he told me. “Luxottica bought everyone. They set whatever prices they please.”





    Dahan, who lives in Potomac, Md., was responding to a column I recently wrote about why consumer prices for frames and lenses are so astronomically high, with markups often approaching 1,000%.


    I noted that if you wear designer glasses, there’s a very good chance you’re wearing Luxottica frames.


    The company’s owned and licensed brands include Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace.


    Along with LensCrafters, Luxottica also runs Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical, as well as the insurer EyeMed Vision Care.


    And Italy’s Luxottica now casts an even longer shadow over the eyewear industry after merging last fall with France’s Essilor, the world’s leading maker of prescription eyeglass lenses and contact lenses. The combined entity is called EssilorLuxottica.


    Just so you know up front, I reached out to both Luxottica and its parent company with what Dahan told me. I asked if they’d like to respond to his specific points or to speak generally about optical pricing.


    Neither company responded, which was the same response I received the last time I contacted them.


    Apparently EssilorLuxottica feels no need to defend its business practices. Or it understands that no reasonable defense is possible.


    Dahan, a chemical engineer by training, established a company called Custom Optical in 1977 after designing a machine capable of making prescription lenses appear thinner.


    In short order he also was designing plastic and metal frames, and proposed to LensCrafters in 1985 that he supply the then-independent company.


    “They bought my lens machines, and soon I was selling them a few models of frames,” Dahan said. “Those were successful, so they kept buying more.”


    Buying glasses online can save you a lot of money. Here’s how to do it »

    Eventually, he said, his company was supplying LensCrafters with about 20% of its frames. “They called me their crown jewel,” Dahan said.


    E. Dean Butler, the founder of LensCrafters, remembers Dahan as “a real go-getter.”


    “He was a key supplier — good product at reasonable prices,” Butler, 74, said in a phone interview from Berlin, where he was meeting with optical-industry contacts.


    He’s no longer affiliated with LensCrafters. These days he’s based in England, but serves as a consultant to optical businesses worldwide.


    Both Butler and Dahan acknowledged what most consumers have long suspected: that the prices we pay for eyewear in no way reflect the actual cost of making frames and lenses.


    When he was in the business, in the 1980s and ’90s, Dahan said it cost him between $10 and $16 to manufacture a pair of quality plastic or metal frames.


    Lenses, he said, might cost about $5 a pair to produce. With fancy coatings, that could boost the price all the way to $15.


    He said LensCrafters would turn around and charge $99 for completed glasses that cost $20 or $30 to make — and this was well below what many independent opticians charged. Nowadays, he said, those same glasses at LensCrafters might cost hundreds of dollars.


    Butler said he recently visited factories in China where many glasses for the U.S. market are manufactured. Improved technology has made prices even lower than what Dahan recalled.


    “You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8,” Butler said. “For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you’d get from Prada.”


    And lenses? “You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece,” Butler said.


    Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.


    Butler laughed. “I know,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s a complete rip-off.”


    In 1995, Luxottica purchased LensCrafters’ parent company, U.S. Shoe Corp., for $1.4 billion. The goal wasn’t to get into the shoe business. It was to take control of LensCrafters’ hundreds of stores nationwide.


    Dahan said things went downhill for him after that. Luxottica increasingly emphasized its own frames over those of outside suppliers, he said, and Custom Optical’s sales plunged. Dahan was forced to close his business in 2001.


    “It wasn’t just me,” he said. “It happened to a lot of companies. Look at Oakley.”


    Indeed, the California maker of premium sunglasses was embraced by skiers and other outdoorsy types after it released its first sunglasses in 1984.


    It raised $230 million with an initial public offering of stock in 1995. Its biggest customer by far was Sunglass Hut, which, like LensCrafters, had stores in malls across the country.


    Luxottica purchased Sunglass Hut in early 2001. It promptly told Oakley it wanted to pay significantly lower wholesale prices or it would reduce its orders and push its own brands instead.


    Within months, Oakley acknowledged to shareholders that the talks hadn’t gone well and that Luxottica was slashing its orders.


    “We have made every reasonable effort to establish a mutually beneficial business partnership with Luxottica, but it is clear from this week's surprising actions that our efforts have been ignored,” Oakley’s management said in a statement at the time.


    The company’s stock immediately lost more than a third of its value.


    Luxottica acquired Oakley a few years later, adding it to Ray-Ban, which Luxottica obtained in 1999.


    “That’s how they gained control of so many brands,” Dahan said. “If you don’t do what they want, they cut you off.”


    Again, no one at Luxottica responded to my request for comment.


    As I’ve previously observed, online glasses sales hold potential for pushing retail eyewear prices lower, but the e-glasses industry still has a ways to go before posing a threat to the likes of EssilorLuxottica.


    It can be a challenge buying something so central to one’s appearance without first trying it on or receiving hands-on help with fitting.


    In the meantime, Dahan and Butler told me, federal authorities should step up and prevent price gouging for eyewear — just as they’ve done with other healthcare products, such as EpiPens.


    “Federal officials fell asleep at the wheel,” Dahan said. “They should never have allowed all these companies to roll into one. It destroyed competition.”


    Butler said it should be clear from EssilorLuxottica’s practices that the company has too much market power. “If that’s not a monopoly,” he said, “I don’t know what is.”


    I couldn’t agree more. Regulators are currently wringing their hands over further consolidation in the wireless industry, with a proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile raising the prospect of just three major carriers.


    The eyewear market is in considerably worse shape.


    That should be clear to anyone.


  2. #2
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    It's what we all know... just in print.

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    so....the ads I see on tv for zenni which promote $6.95 complete eyeglasses - this is not competition? Who says there is no competition? this is a total fluff piece, useless information on the reporter's part.

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    Sensationalism. No one reports on the outrageous per hr fees that auto mechanics charge, or their markups. And what about Pharms? But our industry is under sieg? Labor, overhead, free redos, all accounts in our pricing. Zenni, WP, et al, do not offer free redos if the RX is off. We do. It’s the cost of doing business. What about insurance write offs, or better yet, insurance ripoffs. Part of the price of doing business.
    The EssiLux empire, including EyeMed needs to be sanctioned for their monopoly. The organization is equivalent to the RICO act. Manufacturing equipment, frames, lenses, labs, retail, consumables and even online retail. They have free will to set prices. How is that not illegal worldwide? Lobbying governments. That is how they get it done.
    As for on line opticals, some truth in advertising will go a long way. Disclose redo policies up front. That alone will get some to shy away. Nothing worse than getting stuck with something you can never use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    The EssiLux empire, including EyeMed needs to be sanctioned for their monopoly. The organization is equivalent to the RICO act. Manufacturing equipment, frames, lenses, labs, retail, consumables and even online retail. They have free will to set prices. How is that not illegal worldwide? Lobbying governments. That is how they get it done.
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    Manufacturing equipment, frames, lenses, labs, retail, consumables and even online retail. They have free will to set prices. How is that not illegal worldwide? .
    Not to be too defensive of Essilor, but I can buy equipment from Topcon, Nidek and various Chinese and American suppliers which are not, to my knowledge, owned by Essilor. I can buy frames and lenses from non-Essilux companies (and I do). So while there are fewer large suppliers than in the past (as in other industries), I am not so sure that there is anything special about optical. Consumers have never had so many options either. Nonsense news articles such as this LA Times crapola are pure laziness, sensationalist and big deal they found a disgruntled "insider" who may have lost his gravy train who is now "telling all". As if.

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    Redhot Jumper Their now largest participation in and of any single group ..........................

    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post

    Not to be too defensive of Essilor, but I can buy equipment from Topcon, Nidek and various Chinese and American suppliers which are not, to my knowledge, owned by Essilor. I can buy frames and lenses from non-Essilux companies (and I do). So while there are fewer large suppliers than in the past (as in other industries), I am not so sure that there is anything special about optical. Consumers have never had so many options either. Nonsense news articles such as this LA Times crapola are pure laziness, sensationalist and big deal they found a disgruntled "insider" who may have lost his gravy train who is now "telling all". As if.

    optimensch,...................If you would have followed the posts on Essilor's "optical world domination " posts right here on optiBOARD, over the last few years. you would see that they are moving forward step by step without stopping, and counter no visible defensive action at this time.

    Their now largest participation in and of any single group, in quality online optical services should give you the shivers, instead of making belittling comments.

    The 2 disgruntled "insiders" you mention were the 2 owners of the original "Lenscrafters" chain, who walked away with many millions of Dollars when they sold it to Luxottica.
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    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post
    so....the ads I see on tv for zenni which promote $6.95 complete eyeglasses - this is not competition? Who says there is no competition?
    Some would say that a would-be customer walking into a mall-based retail environment will not encounter a lot of non-luxottica options to buy eyewear.

    A non-competitive monopoly does not necessarily have to imply an absolute monopoly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post
    Some would say that a would-be customer walking into a mall-based retail environment will not encounter a lot of non-luxottica options to buy eyewear.

    A non-competitive monopoly does not necessarily have to imply an absolute monopoly.
    Malls may not be such a useful example given how they are in a general decline, and as purchases move online there are certainly plenty of non essilux players since the barrier to entry is fairly low. In Canada we have Centennial, Hoya, Zeiss and surely other non essilux choices and you can go to any major trade show and find plenty of non essilux suppliers of frames, lenses and equipment. I think there is plenty of competition at both the retail and wholesale level, not necessarily an optimal amount, and I am not here to defend essilux at all - I buy from them and I buy from many other suppliers too. Is someone forcing you to purchase from them? Is most of your competition really essilux-owned? How about the contact lens market - is the competition there sufficient in your opinion, both at wholesale and retail?

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    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post
    Malls may not be such a useful example given how they are in a general decline, and as purchases move online there are certainly plenty of non essilux players since the barrier to entry is fairly low. In Canada we have Centennial, Hoya, Zeiss and surely other non essilux choices and you can go to any major trade show and find plenty of non essilux suppliers of frames, lenses and equipment. I think there is plenty of competition at both the retail and wholesale level, not necessarily an optimal amount, and I am not here to defend essilux at all - I buy from them and I buy from many other suppliers too. Is someone forcing you to purchase from them? Is most of your competition really essilux-owned? How about the contact lens market - is the competition there sufficient in your opinion, both at wholesale and retail?
    Perhaps you and I are reading something different when we read the article. To me, the the author is reporting about rip-off mark-ups on glasses in the retail environment. His explanation for this is a Luxottica monopoly. Whether you believe there is sufficient competition in retail and wholesale lens and frame suppliers is beside the point. Do you agree or disagree that there are rip-off mark-ups for the average retail consumer? What, for instance, is your mark-up for the items the journalist is reporting about?

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    I'm also going to opine that I don't think you would do very well in a basic test of reading comprehension.

    The title of the article is: How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear?

    I think the "we" is intended to describe people NOT in the industry. So people who aren't (for instance) opticians and optometrists. In either words, neither you nor me. Yet look at your post.

    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post
    Malls may not be such a useful example given how they are in a general decline, and as purchases move online there are certainly plenty of non essilux players since the barrier to entry is fairly low. In Canada we have Centennial, Hoya, Zeiss and surely other non essilux choices and you can go to any major trade show and find plenty of non essilux suppliers of frames, lenses and equipment. It think there is plenty of competition at both the retail and wholesale level, not necessarily an optimal amount, and I am not here to defend essilux at all - I buy from them and I buy from many other suppliers too. Is someone forcing you to purchase from them? Is most of your competition really essilux-owned? How about the contact lens market - is the competition there sufficient in your opinion, both at wholesale and retail?
    Why does an article written by and for non-optical people elicit a response from you detailing all your potential (optometric) purchase avenues? You aren't part of the "we" that the journalist is reporting about. You (and me) are on the "other" side of his basic argument. I'm not sure how you missed that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post
    I'm also going to opine that I don't think you would do very well in a basic test of reading comprehension.

    The title of the article is: How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear?

    I think the "we" is intended to describe people NOT in the industry. So people who aren't (for instance) opticians and optometrists. In either words, neither you nor me. Yet look at your post.



    Why does an article written by and for non-optical people elicit a response from you detailing all your potential (optometric) purchase avenues? You aren't part of the "we" that the journalist is reporting about. You (and me) are on the "other" side of his basic argument. I'm not sure how you missed that.
    Really. Very collegial comments, thanks.

    I started with a reply in this thread that I felt that in fact CONSUMERS have plenty of choice, I did not reference our alternative optical suppliers. In fact I pointed out that strangely, if ESSILUX is a monopoly, that it was notable that the ads I see on TV lately are by Zenni and WP, 2 major low cost alternatives to Essilux. The difference is I can also read between the lines, follow a thread and not be rude. You might consider some manners. This piece has a lot to do with the essilux monopoly and the piece is in the BUSINESS section. Where is the monopoly - at wholesale? retail? both? Is this crystal clear from this article? Why is pointing out myriad competitors at BOTH wholesale AND retail so off topic to you?

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    Convenient for you to ignore my earlier post. Here it is again:

    Perhaps you and I are reading something different when we read the article. To me, the the author is reporting about rip-off mark-ups on glasses in the retail environment. His explanation for this is a Luxottica monopoly. Whether you believe there is sufficient competition in retail and wholesale lens and frame suppliers is beside the point. Do you agree or disagree that there are rip-off mark-ups for the average retail consumer? What, for instance, is your mark-up for the items the journalist is reporting about?

    There is no need to read between the lines. Just read what the lines say. The journalist reports:

    “You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece,” Butler said.
    Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.

    If the article can be distilled into two sentences, these would be the two. I don't dispute his claim because the prices claimed are consistent with what I know about the optical industry. Now, the journalist overlooks the price of frames in there (let's say $15). So two lenses plus frames comes to $17.50. And that item is then sold for $800. Is that newsworthy? I'm not a news editor but I'm going to assume the editor of the LA Times is competent, and he deems that newsworthy so I'm going to assume it's newsworthy to non-industry folk.

    You wrote:
    >Where is the monopoly - at wholesale? retail? both?

    The article is claiming a monopoly by Luxottica, and (I don't want to put words in his mouth but) it's largely implied the monopoly is occurring at brick and mortar retail. Though you appear to be in disagreement with the article (you called it a "fluff" piece), in some sense, your listing of the myriad of competitors at the wholesale level provides evidence for the article's main claim. Because in order for the retailers to buy lenses at $1.25 (which is a pretty small capital investment for a retail item), there must be an active and truly competitive wholesale environment for quality lenses to be sold at such a nominal cost. So although the journalist doesn't reference healthy wholesale competition, your post in fact is consistent with what the journalist is reporting.

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    Blue Jumper I'm also going to opine .........................................

    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post

    I'm also going to opine that I don't think you would do very well in a basic test of reading comprehension.

    The title of the article is: How badly are we being ripped off on eyewear? I think the "we" is intended to describe people NOT in the industry. So people who aren't (for instance) opticians and optometrists. In either words, neither you nor me. Yet look at your post.

    Why does an article written by and for non-optical people elicit a response from you detailing all your potential (optometric) purchase avenues? You aren't part of the "we" that the journalist is reporting about. You (and me) are on the "other" side of his basic argument. I'm not sure how you missed that.

    ..............................a very good point overall.

    As having lived and worked in the world of optical retail for whatever timespan it has been, we have been used to the way it was and now is.

    We forget that when the optical retail profession became a specialised field in the early 1900's , the times of primitive instruments, machinery and glass lenses, using a lot of manual work to make and finish a pair of glasses. If you would break a lens while finishing a job you had to restart all of it again. For that reason alone, opticians would charge a much higher markup, to cover for broken lenses and other redos, than is standard in other commercial fields. Furthermore the now standard historically higher markup in optical retail sales has survived just about a full century by one reason or another.

    No wonder that non optical people are trying to get into this field by catering to the masses, at much lower pricing and still making money.
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    Blue Jumper I have to agree it is newsworthy to the general public...............................

    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post

    There is no need to read between the lines. Just read what the lines say. The journalist reports:

    “You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece,” Butler said.
    Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.


    If the article can be distilled into two sentences, these would be the two. I don't dispute his claim because the prices claimed are consistent with what I know about the optical industry. Now, the journalist overlooks the price of frames in there (let's say $15). So two lenses plus frames comes to $17.50. And that item is then sold for $800. Is that newsworthy? I'm not a news editor but I'm going to assume the editor of the LA Times is competent, and he deems that newsworthy so I'm going to assume it's newsworthy to non-industry folk.

    You wrote:
    >Where is the monopoly - at wholesale? retail? both?

    Butler ..........................sold LensCrafters to Luxottica for millions of $s.

    ........and the lenses are Polycarbonate, the easiest and cheapest ones to manufacture.

    I have to agree it is newsworthy to the general public.

    To follow the MONOPOLY...................just read up on Essilor ....Essilux and their worldwide progress right here on optiBoard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post
    Convenient for you to ignore my earlier post. Here it is again:

    Perhaps you and I are reading something different when we read the article. To me, the the author is reporting about rip-off mark-ups on glasses in the retail environment. His explanation for this is a Luxottica monopoly. Whether you believe there is sufficient competition in retail and wholesale lens and frame suppliers is beside the point. Do you agree or disagree that there are rip-off mark-ups for the average retail consumer? What, for instance, is your mark-up for the items the journalist is reporting about?

    There is no need to read between the lines. Just read what the lines say. The journalist reports:

    “You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece,” Butler said.
    Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.

    If the article can be distilled into two sentences, these would be the two. I don't dispute his claim because the prices claimed are consistent with what I know about the optical industry. Now, the journalist overlooks the price of frames in there (let's say $15). So two lenses plus frames comes to $17.50. And that item is then sold for $800. Is that newsworthy? I'm not a news editor but I'm going to assume the editor of the LA Times is competent, and he deems that newsworthy so I'm going to assume it's newsworthy to non-industry folk.

    You wrote:
    >Where is the monopoly - at wholesale? retail? both?

    The article is claiming a monopoly by Luxottica, and (I don't want to put words in his mouth but) it's largely implied the monopoly is occurring at brick and mortar retail. Though you appear to be in disagreement with the article (you called it a "fluff" piece), in some sense, your listing of the myriad of competitors at the wholesale level provides evidence for the article's main claim. Because in order for the retailers to buy lenses at $1.25 (which is a pretty small capital investment for a retail item), there must be an active and truly competitive wholesale environment for quality lenses to be sold at such a nominal cost. So although the journalist doesn't reference healthy wholesale competition, your post in fact is consistent with what the journalist is reporting.
    The problem with your facile analysis of a news article claiming that glasses "cost" 17 bucks and get sold to ripped-off consumers for 800 bucks, and how this is "consistent" with what you know about the optical industry, is that it reveals that you don't really know all that much about the industry, in my opinion. Do you get an income statement at least yearly from your accountant? Have you examined your COGS? Why not look at the income statement of NEWLOOK, a publicly traded, vertically integrated and fairly successful optical retailer. Why not even look at ESSILUX's income statement for that matter. You show me the 97% margins that you are so familiar wtih and remind me how this is NOT in fact a total fluff piece. Every industry has its particularities and in the business section of a major paper you might expect something a little deeper in the way of analysis than this drivel. A first semester business student would be curious enough to dig at least a little below the surface, and hopefully an experienced optometrist would too. In this day and age, with all the information available at the click of a mouse, with Chris' Alibaba, WP, Zenni and all the other price discovery tools online, to talk about a "monopoly" selling 800 $ glasses with 97% margins as an example of what is going on in optical retail is silly and useless. Again, please, WHERE IS THE MONOPOLY?? Doesn't Vision Monday or one of the large publishers produce a top 100 optical retailers list? Does the monopoly show itself there? Not a single statistic cited in this garbabe article, just a hypothetical, generalized glob of crap about 18$ getting marked up to 800, with ZERO explanation of how this is evidence of a monopoly. Are you SERIOUS?
    Last edited by optimensch; 03-10-2019 at 01:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post
    Some would say that a would-be customer walking into a mall-based retail environment will not encounter a lot of non-luxottica options to buy eyewear.

    A non-competitive monopoly does not necessarily have to imply an absolute monopoly.
    right. there are no discount opticals in the malls and streets of america. No warby parkers, no costcos, no bonlooks. Only luxottica essilor. No Kering, no silhouette, no zeiss, no tom ford, no walmart, just the non competitive quasi monopoly. What nonsense. There is a lot of competition both at retail and wholesale, you can choose to look at this dumb article to draw your conclusion or actually open your eyes and look around you, and read something actually informative on the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post
    I'm also going to opine that I don't think you would do very well in a basic test of reading comprehension......Why does an article written by and for non-optical people elicit a response from you detailing all your potential (optometric) purchase avenues? You aren't part of the "we" that the journalist is reporting about. You (and me) are on the "other" side of his basic argument. I'm not sure how you missed that.
    I will opine a little further on your attitude. I run an independent full service practice, have more years of experience than I care to mention, have a number of utility patents in eyewear, have manufactured, distributed frames on a world wide basis, run multiple retail locations and basically done a fair bit in optical over the past few decades. I have sold eyewear to some of the biggest chains in the world. I see patients almost every day, and might be one of the hardest working optometrists anywhere, if by hard working, hours logged count.I have attended countless optical tradeshows around the world and have read financial statements and other information on various players in the field, if only for sport and interest. I love our industry and I care deeply about its future. I don't claim any major expertise in anything and I choose to share some of my honestly held beliefs on this forum, with no ill intent, and with no personal negative attitude towards anyone and for no personal gain. Your little attempt at a smack down deserves a solid smack back, and you might want to reread all of this from the top and maybe take a little care in the future to not be a d--k.
    Last edited by optimensch; 03-10-2019 at 01:07 AM.

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    Basic formula for $17 COG equates to $99 retail, not $800. Once payroll and overhead is factored in, profit is around $10, if there are no redos. An $800 pair would mean COGs for frame and lenses is closer to $230 on average. Factor in overhead and insurance write offs, profit is close to $90 on average.
    Sensationalist reporters won’t even bother to investigate this part of the business because 10% ROI isn’t as sexy as 400% ROI.
    optimensch, my friend, keep the trolls honest.

  20. #20
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    “There is no competition in the industry, not any more,” he told me. “Luxottica bought everyone. They set whatever prices they please.”

    actually this is the quote from the article which betrays its being total bs.
    does this refer to retail or wholesale?
    didn't essilor basically buy luxottica, and not the reverse?
    what percentage of retailers in North America are luxottica owned (by number of doors and by dollars sold)
    what percentage of eyeglass frames sold in North America are produced by luxottica
    what type of lens costs 1.25? is it high index? 1.74? coated? uncut? progressive? single vision? photochromic?
    what is the wholesale cost of a luxury frame which retails for around $400 plus, and is produced by luxottica? what about a $400 plus luxury frame NOT produced by luxottica? like for instance LINDBERG or LUNOR? Are they part of the monopoly too? does it matter if the frames are made of better materials and in countries that are not China?
    what is the average retail price of a frame in North America, in malls, on the street and online?
    what is the average retail price of prescription lenses, by index and coatings?
    and yes, what is the average wholesale cost of said average frames and lenses?
    take any recent optical trade show catalogue, how about Vision Expo East?? What percentage of companies exhibiting are Essilux Owned and what percentage of the industry do they "own"
    lets look at retail - open up the yellow pages (ok google) and let's see how many retailers are in our town, and how many of these are luxottica owned, and how about we randomly check out 10 or so opticals and see what percentage of the boards are luxottica frames....
    lets type eyeglasses into google and examine the search results of the first couple of pages - how many commercial hits are essilux owned?
    since when is a company deciding at what price it will sell its goods considered bad business practice and the sign of a monopoly?
    What does a typical optical retail income statement look like? how about essilux? newlook (the only readily available public optical retailer i could find)
    Lots of this information is available on the googles machines by the way, if you cared to dig a little.
    Yet the the writer (and OP?) of the article cares not a whit to do anything more than lazily post a dumb anecdote about 800$ glasses which only cost 17$ therefore there is a monopoly in the malls of america. You want to throw around the MONOPOLY and greedy optical crap ok, but answer at least some of the questions and show this is the case with some rigor and science. Not dumb anecdotes and gut feelings.

    Clearly I must not have good reading comprehension given how much actual relevant information and all-telling anecdotes are buried in this article.

    Last edited by optimensch; 03-10-2019 at 02:02 AM.

  21. #21
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    Redhot Jumper I am just wondering that with such a wide ranging business activity..................

    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post

    I will opine a little further on your attitude. I run an independent full service practice, have more years of experience than I care to mention, have a number of utility patents in eyewear,

    have manufactured, distributed frames on a world wide basis, run multiple retail locations and basically done a fair bit in optical over the past few decades.

    I have sold eyewear to some of the biggest chains in the world.

    I see patients almost every day, and might be one of the hardest working optometrists anywhere, if by hard working, hours logged count.I have attended countless optical tradeshows around the world and have read financial statements and other information on various players in the field, if only for sport and interest.



    .................... I am just wondering that with such a wide ranging business activity and experience , you still work as an Optometrist seeing one by one customer.

    ................and with all this experience you do not seem to see the writing on the wall. Your present customers age group is dying off, and are being replaced by another younger generation that embraces totally different ways of spending their money, and buying their goods.
    Chris Ryser
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    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    I will further add, on this sleepless night, that articles such as this, which are so lazily crafted and inane, ought not to be read with too keen an eye and with too much attention because it can make you stupid. Keep it to some sort of meta analysis. Like a psychiatrist listening to a mentally ill patient, once the doctor establishes psychosis, it doesn't matter what the exact details in the story are, just that the person telling the story needs medication. Sometimes you should look with a microscope and sometimes with a telescope. Someone who reads this and believes it provides proof of an eyewear monopoly situation either at wholesale, retail or just in their mind is the person with a dysfunction of their reading comprehension or some other dysfunction. Back to True Detective Season 3, and see y'all at vision expo east where we will play a game of avoiding all booths connected to Essilux.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    .................... I am just wondering that with such a wide ranging business activity and experience , you still work as an Optometrist seeing one by one customer.

    ................and with all this experience you do not seem to see the writing on the wall. Your present customers age group is dying off, and are being replaced by another younger generation that embraces totally different ways of spending their money, and buying their goods.
    I love seeing customers one by one and hope I can do it for a long time to come, if I can stay healthy. I am an optometrist and product development is a side passion. I see clients in their teens, twenties and nineties. They all have cell phones, facebook, instagram and mostly have heard of Warby Parker and Bonlook. They are not ill informed or ignorant. They may not be as clairvoyant as you chris, and so they still come to us independents where the choice is better, the service is better and the overall experience is better. It is really that simple. Not so hard to understand. I see the writing on the wall. It is all about technology right now and in the meantime guys and gals like me who integrate technology, new products, the right services at the right price are doing and will continue to do just fine. I was non stop busy all day, people waiting in line for exams and to buy glasses. Admittedly it was the first warm and sunny day in a while and Saturdays are our busiest day of the week, but this was exceptional. Warby who?

  24. #24
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    Redhot Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post

    I will further add, on this sleepless night, that articles such as this, which are so lazily crafted and inane, ought not to be read with too keen an eye and with too much attention because it can make you stupid. Keep it to some sort of meta analysis. Like a psychiatrist listening to a mentally ill patient, once the doctor establishes psychosis, it doesn't matter what the exact details in the story are, just that the person telling the story needs medication.

    Sometimes you should look with a microscope and sometimes with a telescope. Someone who reads this and believes it provides proof of an eyewear monopoly situation either at wholesale, retail or just in their mind is the person with a dysfunction of their reading comprehension or some other dysfunction. Back to True Detective Season 3, and see y'all at vision expo east where we will play a game of avoiding all booths connected to Essilux.

    You will not see me at Vision Expo East, I will stay in Florida in the warm weather, keeping my old bones warm in the local sun.

    Having done all these exhibitions for many of the last 30 years as an exhibitor, I know all the nice and not so nice parts of it, and actually will not miss it, as it is always the same with some novelties thrown in for the interest.
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    Basic formula for $17 COG equates to $99 retail, not $800. Once payroll and overhead is factored in, profit is around $10, if there are no redos. An $800 pair would mean COGs for frame and lenses is closer to $230 on average. Factor in overhead and insurance write offs, profit is close to $90 on average.
    Sensationalist reporters won’t even bother to investigate this part of the business because 10% ROI isn’t as sexy as 400% ROI.
    optimensch, my friend, keep the trolls honest.
    Thanks, and gross profit does not equal net income or ebit. That will look even more regular world. If this article is true, eyewear is the most profitable business anywhere and Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and huge sovereign wealth funds, Jonson and Jonson (who know a thing about the optical trade) should be neck deep in optical retail. Elon Musk would be out of the electricity and space business and start opening up vertically integrated optical retail, the greatest business of all time. Yeah. Great article. great insight. Astronomical margins. Maybe they could get COGS to 1%, because you know, that is what builds a great business, they teach this at Harvard Business school don't you know.

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