Vision benefits giant makes a power play in physical store strategy

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Vision benefits giant makes a power play in physical store strategy

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 06/27/2019
As the lines between health care and retail continue to blur, VSP’s newest deal is poised to give the company a strong foothold in the retail marketplace.

VSP Global, whose businesses include national vision benefits company VSP Vision Care, on Thursday announced that it will acquire San Antonio, Texas-based VisionWorks — the sixth largest optical chain in the United States. In addition to acquiring VisionWorks’ portfolio of more than 700 stores in nearly 40 states, the deal will be the single largest VSP network investment in the company’s 65-year history.

“The deal aligns with the company’s “intent to pursue new retail development, acquisitions, joint ventures, and partnership opportunities to strengthen value to our clients and continue to grow our membership,” Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global, said in a YouTube video.

The transaction will close once the necessary regulatory approvals are obtained.

“This transaction is highly complementary to our business and marks a significant leap forward in continuing to fulfill our vision to provide access to affordable, high-quality eye care and eyewear to more people,” said Guyette. “With expanded nationwide access, we’ll provide our clients and members with an option for a more substantial, consistent and sustainable retail experience, further enhanced by the professional care of VSP network doctors.”

VisionWorks regards the transaction as a way to increase both companies’ “shared commitment to help people see,” said Visionworks CEO, Pete Bridgman.

“Grounded in our passion to deliver affordable quality eye care in a simple way, and strengthened by our new partnership with VSP, we will focus on advancing patient care and accessibility,” he added.

The news comes on the heels of the debut of VSP’s first physical location. Opened under the Eyeconic banner and located in Chicago’s trendy Bucktown neighborhood, the store is designed to serve as an extension of VSP’s Eyeconic e-commerce site, connecting products, services and a VSP network doctor to retail-minded consumers. A second Chicago location is set to open on July 13.

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