Vision Express has increased sales and profits in its full year, boosted by its exclusive collaboration with chef and famous spectacles wearer Heston Blumenthal.
The opticians and optical retailer recorded an 11% jump in operating profit for the year to December 31, 2013. In the prior year the retailer made £16.4m.
Sales increased 6% in the year. In the previous year Vision Express posted sales of £248m.
Vision Express chief executive Jonathan Lawson said: ”The Heston Blumenthal range has been an integral part of our success in the past year. It was the most successful launch in Vision Express’ history.”
The retailer launched the tie-up with Blumenthal in March last year. It was part of Vision Express’ strategy to offer more exclusive brands. It also launched a fitting service with eyecare designer Tom Davies last year and this month launched a range with fashion retailer Joules.
Vision Express has also been investing in its store estate with refurbishments and relocations. It opened eight new stores in the financial year and it has been on the acquisition trail after acquiring 12 stores from Crown Eyeglass in May last year and 65 from Rayner & Keeler Opticians in January, bringing its store total to 373 in the UK and Ireland.
Lawson said following the last three years of consecutive profit growth this year will be more ”exciting”.
He said he aims to take advantage of the acquisition of online contact lens specialist Lenstore by its parent company GrandVision.
He added: “We share many common values with Lenstore and a belief in the importance of a multichannel offer for optical customers who are looking for unrivalled standards of service and quality.”
Lawson also revealed that Vision Express is set to roll out a more “simplified” store layout with a clearer pricing strategy across its estate, which it unveiled at its King’s Road store in recent weeks.
Vision Express has also recently launched a marketing campaign called Vision Taken Seriously, which alerts customers to the importance of eye tests.