|Headquarters||Savannah, Georgia, United States|
|Products||Eyewear, glasses, sunglasses|
Cole National (1967–1996)
Pearle Optical is an American chain of eye care stores. It was founded by Stanley Pearle, an optometrist in Savannah, Georgia, United States, in 1961. He also founded Pearle Vision (market name in the United States) and its express store, Pearle Express, in the same year. Stanley Pearle sold his stores to Grand Metropolitan conglomerate based in the United Kingdom. 6 years later Grand Metropolitan sold the stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to Cole National Corporation. The Belgium stores were sold to GIB based in Belgium and the Dutch stores to HAL Investments based in the Netherlands. HAL Investments bought the Belgium Stores 1 year later from GIB and merged both chains into Pearl Benelux. The North American Pearle Vision stores are currently owned by the Italian company Luxottica after the takeover of Cole National Corporation in 1996.
The Pearle chain of opticians in Europe is now part of Grandvision and has more than 1000 branches in 43 countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Finland and Estonia. For more than 40 years the company has been selling branded products and products under its own brand name.
The first Pearle Optical store in the Middle East opened in Marina Mall, Kuwait, on January 15, 2003, and currently operates 18 stores in the Middle East: 4 in Kuwait, 10 in KSA, 3 in UAE, 5 in Egypt and 1 in Qatar.
In the 1970s, Pearle Vision acquired the New York area Hillman/Kohan chain, and in 1997 under ownership of Cole National Corporation, Pearle Vision bought out the 150-store NuVision chain in Michigan.
Notably, Pearle Vision has repeatedly experienced difficulty operating successfully in California. Its traditional business model directly conflicts with California's strong consumer protection statutes which are designed to prevent the obvious conflict of interest that arises when an optometrist and an optician practice side-by-side in the same business (one can prescribe more eyewear to be made by the other, thus inflating the overall profits of the business). On June 12, 2006, the Supreme Court of California ruled that Pearle Vision could not escape the reach of those statutes, and Pearle Vision's attempts to find a loophole through the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975 were unavailing.
Stanley Pearle died on July 21, 2011. He is survived by three children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great‐grandchildren.
- "The Eyes Still Have It". Inc. Magazine. Nov 1, 1987. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
- Standard & Poor's Creditweek - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- People v. Cole, 38 Cal. 4th 964 (2006).
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