Vision Express

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Vision Express (UK) Limited
Private Limited Company
Industry Retailing Optician, Optometrist, Dispensing Optician, Contact Lens Optician
Founded 1988; 29 years ago (1988)
Headquarters Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, England
Number of locations
United Kingdom, Jersey, Republic of Ireland
Key people
Jonathan Lawson (CEO)
Products Spectacles, Contact lenses, Sunglasses, Eye Examinations
Services Eye Exams, Contact Lens Assessments, Spectacles Dispensing
Revenue Increase £280m (2012)[1]
Increase £16.4m (2012)[1]
Owner HAL Trust (Bermuda) via GrandVision SA (France)[1]
Number of employees
4,500 apx (inc. joint venture partnerships)
Parent Vision Express Group Ltd
Subsidiaries Abbeyfield V.E. Ltd
Vision Express (CLS) Ltd

Vision Express is a British company established in 1988 that sells spectacles and contact lenses.


The Sutton, London branch

The company opened its first store in 1988, at the MetroCentre, Gateshead, quickly followed by a number of other stores. In October 1993 US Shoe Corp Cincinnati sold the seven of its LensCrafters' superstores in the United Kingdom to Vision Express. In 1995, the first store operating on a joint venture basis was opened.

The company had grown to over 220 stores across the United Kingdom by 2007. In May 2008 Batemans Opticians was acquired, which comprised a seventy five store chain in Southern England. The majority of these stores have since been rebranded as Vision Express.

There are currently 390 stores throughout the United Kingdom, Jersey and the Republic of Ireland.[2] Of these stores approx. 195 are fully company owned,[1] with the remainder being under joint Venture partnerships.

Vision Express is also in Poland, where it has over 110 stores. It has recently opened a series of stores in India in partnership with Reliance.

On 1 May 2013, Vision Express announced that it had acquired twelve optical stores from Crown Eyeglass Ltd. The stores, situated in the North West of England, will become part of the Vision Express portfolio, bringing its total number of outlets in the United Kingdom and Ireland to 331.

Eight of the properties currently trading as Crown Optical Centre and Direkt Optik will transfer optical services to nearby Vision Express premises and Vision Express will seek to retain the valued experience of the Crown Eyeglass Ltd personnel within the Vision Express store network. The remaining four stores will trade from their existing locations, with their existing teams under Vision Express branding.

On 1 February 2014, the high street retail business of Rayner & Keeler Opticians was bought by Vision Express from JBR1910 Limited.

On 1 December 2014 Vision Express announced the acquisition of the business of Liverpool-based Conlons Opticians for an undisclosed fee.[3] It was stated that ten of the nineteen stores purchased would continue to trade from their current locations, with the existing store teams as part of the Vision Express portfolio, with the remaining eight stores transferring services to their nearest Vision Express store.

The following day, it was announced that the store in Millom (which was due to be transferred to the nearby location of Barrow-In-Furness), would remain open following a review from local residents, bringing the total number of Vision Express stores to 390 by the end of 2014.

Following a further announcement on 9 December 2014, Vision Express decided to continue to trade from the Conlons store in Annan as part of its portfolio. This increased the total number of stores to 391 by the end of 2014. Vision Express controls about 11% of the market for spectacles and contact lenses.[1]

Takeover by Grand Vision[edit]

Grand Vision acquired Vision Express in 1997. The French parent company Grand Vision has stores under various brands across Europe, and the rest of the world. Under franchise agreement there is a strong Vision Express brand present also in Latvian and Lithuanian markets. These shops were acquired from GrandVision by Latvian entrepreneurs of "LU Optometrijas Centrs SIA".


In September 2010, it was reported that blog spam comments were appearing online that were trying to promote Vision Express[4] for SEO purposes. The blog spam attempted to promote, with a link for the keyword "eye test".

The Wikipedia page for Vision Express had also been edited to try and promote "eye tests" and "opticians" in the External Links section as promotional links back to the website. In both instances, the links would have automatically been tagged with nofollow, which according to Google means the links would have been of little benefit for ranking purposes anyway.[5] In July 2015, former ITN newscaster Trevor McDonald made his own appearance in the advert, then Julie Walters made their own appearance in 2017.


  1. ^ a b c d e Vision Express (UK) Ltd, Annual report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Find your local Vision Express Opticians". 
  3. ^ McDonough, Tony (1 December 2014). "After 132 years in the same family Liverpool's Conlons Opticians is sold to Vision Express". Liverpool Echo. 
  4. ^ Techwatch: Are Vision Express comment spamming blogs?
  5. ^ Google: About rel="nofollow"

External links[edit]