Luxury Optical Holdings (LOH) to Sell Optica Stores to Emerging Vision
NEW YORK — Luxury Optical Holdings (LOH) will sell its 16 Optica specialty eyewear boutiques to Emerging Vision, Inc. (EVI). The purchase price was undisclosed for the transaction which will take effect on Feb. 16. Executives at both companies described the deal to VMAIL as a “win-win-win,” for each group and for the industry. Optica operates 10 stores in Las Vegas as well as three locations in California, one in Chicago, one in Houston and one in Orlando.
According to Tim Mayhew, CEO of LOH, “Through this strategic disposition, LOH is positioned to dedicate itself fully to the growth at retail and wholesale of its owned and exclusively licensed brands, Robert Marc, Morgenthal Frederics and Lunor, an unparalleled portfolio of luxury eyewear collections.”
He told VMAIL, “This is another positive step forward for LOH and is the final in a series of moves which reposition us as a company. We have hunkered down and improved our operating performance, are comping positively at our stores and strengthened our balance sheet by raising capital. We’re laser focused now on the brands we own through our retail stores and our wholesale business.”
When the transaction is completed, LOH will have 27 stores operating under the Morgenthal Frederics and Robert Marc names. Mayhew noted, “We are curating the experience at both groups with largely our own products and a selection of emerging brands that complement those.” Following the recent success of Morgenthal Frederics’ collaborations with Oscar de la Renta, Monse and Rosie Assoulin, the company will also actively seek to introduce new collections.
Emerging Vision is a leading provider of eyecare products and services and currently operates one of the largest franchised optical chains in the U.S. Its stores principally operate under the brands Sterling Optical and Site for Sore Eyes, which are franchised locations. EVI corporate owns Eye Gallery, which operates eight locations in Georgia and Florida. All together, the company has 111 franchised and company-owned stores located across 12 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Going forward, EVI will be opening three more locations in the next four months (one Sterling in Bismarck, ND., one Site For Sore Eyes in San Bruno, Calif. and one Flagship Eye Gallery in Honolulu, Hawaii.)
Glenn Spina, president and CEO of EVI, commented, “We look at this transaction as an incredible opportunity to expand our footprint in the luxury optical market and as a natural add on to our very successful Eye Gallery purchase made three years ago.” “We ( EVI) have just completed our 8th year of comparative store sales increases across our entire portfolio of retail stores and we’re very excited about the opportunity to bring that same level of excellence to the already outstanding Optica brand.”
He noted, “We are always looking for opportunities and have long sought to expand what we’ve already been doing with Eye Gallery which has a strong EBIDTA and now is seeing sales up in double digits. We had a tremendous year last year. This was a very great opportunity for us to expand our portfolio. We will be bringing more brands into the Optica stores.” Spina added, “It has been a pleasure to work with Tim Mayhew and his team and we wish them tremendous success.”
Added Mayhew, “Emerging Vision is a company with a tremendous heritage and a deep expertise in optical. We are confident that the Optica brand will be in good hands.”