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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.


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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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 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 optimensch View Post
    ... 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?
    Your argument that the article is bunk seems to rest on the premise of semantics. Replace "monopoly" with the words "insufficient competition" in your post and see if you still agree with what you wrote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optio View Post
    Your argument that the article is bunk seems to rest on the premise of semantics. Replace "monopoly" with the words "insufficient competition" in your post and see if you still agree with what you wrote.
    NO. My argument that the article is BUNK rests on the fact that IT IS NOT JOURNALISM. It is a One-sided HIT PIECE with ZERO FACTS presented and most importantly without the other side of the argument. At most it is a frustrated opinion piece, but certainly NOT in any way a researched investigative journalism piece. What THE F does Insufficient Competition mean? What are you talking about? Answer any single question I've posted, and I've posted plenty for you to choose from. Show me ANYTIHNG that looks at like insufficient competition at ANY level of optical retail or wholesale. You read a stupid article like this and eat the pablum? Is that the best you've got?

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    I'll admit I tried reading a few of your stream of consciousness posts, but it was clear it was going to take an effort I wasn't willing to make, so I stopped.

    What I will say though, gets back to reading comprehension. The article is about a claimed Essilux "monopoly". It is not about you, (I presume) a private practice optometrist. The word "optometry", nor any of its derivatives appear anywhere in the article. A search of the article for the root word "optom" yields zero hits.

    This is (to use your words) a hit piece on Luxottica. It's not an expose on rip off private practice optometrists who sell eyewear. Now, you may also sell eyewear in the "same" competitive environment as Luxottica, but the article isn't about you or optometrists like you (as an aside, something makes me wonder why you get so defensive about a hit piece on Luxottica ripping people off). It's about the fact that when the journalist goes into the Eaton's Center, he sees Sunglass Hut near the entrance, an LC halfway down the mall, and a Sears Optical at the end. They are all controlled by Luxottica/Essilux. He's also told by an industry insider of absurd markups for the stuff in those stores. So that's what he's trying to report.

    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post
    Do you get an income statement at least yearly from your accountant? Have you examined your COGS?

    This illustrates my point exactly. Why are you asking me about MY income statement? I'm not Luxottica nor do I represent them in any way. I presume you don't either. So who cares what my (or your) COGS is? What does that have to do with anything the journalist has said? It all gets back to reading comprehension. This article is about Luxottica, not the private practices of optometrists who sell eyewear.



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    Eaton's was a dominant player in canada. Sears was a dominant player in North America, TOYSRUS was a big player in toys, America On Line was a big player in internet access. General Motors was a big player in cars. The ground is ALWAYS shifting. There is NOTHING special about eyewear that makes Essilux invulnerable. The day Jeff Bezos decides he likes eyewear, watch out. A technology will emerge that will change everything overnight, who knows. But this tired old nonsense fairy tale, oft trotted out by the media-loved Warby Parker talking heads about the evil empire controlling every pair of glasses sold on the planet and how they price gouge people with their Chanel Frames is a total joke, and for an optometrist to basically barf out the same talking points is a bit sickening.

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    So given that the competition bureaus around the world green lit the merger - I suppose they are all on the take? I mean obviously they looked at the competitive landscape, they analyzed everything and they all came to the conclusion that either a) there is sufficient competition therefore ESSILOR and Lux can merge or b) there is a monopoly but there is a pay off, conspiracy world wide and the evil empire cabal has illegally subdued the eyewear market world wide. So which is it? Why is this not addressed in the article, I mean the 2 know-it-all insiders you admire are asking for investigation, but you see, there was one to greenlight the merger. SO let's see, why did the journalist not mention this or perhaps ask a government agency for clarification? He only points out that Essilux declined to comment. Now you, experienced OD, claim there is insufficient competition. Again, I ask you, where is this manifest? In your local mall? Where is the problem specifically please, I really look forward to your insight.
    Last edited by optimensch; 03-10-2019 at 09:11 AM.

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    Insufficient competition. There are thousands and thousands of independent retailers NOT controlled by luxottica, hundreds and hundreds of suppliers, online glasses, offline glasses and you can buy glasses for basically ANY price and from ANY source your could possibly imagine BOTH AT RETAIL AND WHOLESALE. Yet there are 2 political parties in the USA. Yup. The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz. Let's just compare eyewear with telecom - what a JOKE it is so ridiculous I cannot believe anyone with even a drop of research into the subject would take this seriously. If it takes you more than an hour to conclude otherwise, you are willfully blind and/or have some other agenda.

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    - what a JOKE it is so ridiculous ..........................................

    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post

    - what a JOKE it is so ridiculous I cannot believe anyone with even a drop of research into the subject would take this seriously.
    If it takes you more than an hour to conclude otherwise, you are willfully blind and/or have some other agenda.

    .........................................one large source for research on the subject is right here on optiBOARD, which contains dozens of posts, that talk of lower priced retail sales than at the standard mega markup for at least the last 14 years.

    This is not a new subject, but it is now wide open, and published even in daily newspapers. So you can not hide behind silence anymore, specially when the largest optical manufacturer of lenses and optical eyeglass frames is officially jumping into the discount retail market and in direct competition to the established retailers.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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