Dollond & Aitchison
|Type||Non-trading company (from 2010 business fully integrated into Boots Opticians)|
|Headquarters||Nottingham, England, UK|
|Key people||Andy Ferguson (CEO),
Pradip Patel (MD)
|Owner(s)||De Rigo and Alliance Boots (previous owners of Boots Opticians)|
Dollond & Aitchison was one of the oldest chain of retail opticians in the United Kingdom, having been established in 1750. The business was absorbed into Boots Opticians in 2009 and stores are being rebranded under the new owner.
On 21 April 1750, Peter Dollond opened a small optical business in Vine Street, near Hatton Garden in London. He was joined by his father John Dollond in 1752. The Dollonds became quite famous for the quality of his optical products. In 1768 John Dollond, now a partner in business, was appointed optician to King George III and the Duke of York. In 1781, Peter Dollond made bifocal spectacles.
At the Great Exhibition 1851 in London, Dollonds were awarded a medal for the excellence of their optical instruments.
In 1889, James Aitchison established his first business in Fleet Street. In 1927 Dollond & Co merged with Aitchison & Co, to form Dollond & Aitchison (abbreviated D&A).
During the 1960s, Dolland & Aitchison was a subsidiary of the former British television company Television Wales and West. From 1970 until 1982, D&A were successful in a series of acquisitions in the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. In 1994, however, management buy-outs of the UK, Spanish and Italian companies took place.
In the 1990s, D&A launched a number of services for customers such as in 1996 the introduction of computer analysis for eyesight, the launch of its own website in 1997 and in 1998 its "contact lenses by post" scheme.
The Italian frame manufacturer De Rigo purchased D&A in 1999. In 2001, D&A sold its manufacturer arm to BBGR. In the same year, restructuring of the company took place, consisting of the three wholly owned subsidiaries and holding company.
The company currently employs more than 2,500 staff, including more than 400 opticians. It has approximately 380 branches within the UK, consisting of around 240 group-owned sites and 140 franchises.
On 29 January 2009, it was announced that Boots Opticians were to merge with D&A, forming a chain of 690 stores and 5,000 staff after Boots purchased a controlling share in D&A. In the short term Dollond & Aitchison is continuing as a trading name within the Boots Opticians group of companies. It is envisaged that the Dollond & Aitchison branches will, in due course, adopt the Boots Opticians brand.
- Bradley, Nigel (2007). "Qualitative Research (7)". Marketing Research: Tools and Techniques. Oxford University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-19-928196-3.
- Griffin, Jon (2009-01-29). "Boots takes over Dollond & Aitchison". The Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- "Boots Opticians to merge with Dollond & Aitchison". Alliance Boots. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-01-29.[dead link]
- Hugh Barty-King. Eyes right: The story of Dollond & Aitchison opticians 1750-1985. Quiller Press (1986). ISBN 978-0-907621-69-0
Media related to Dollond & Aitchison at Wikimedia Commons