Vision Express works to hold on to staff

Optical retailer Vision Express, part of French group Grandvision, is striving to reduce staff turnover from a peak of 41 per cent in 2001.

Chief executive Simon Innes said the retailer managed to lower the figure to 34 per cent last year and is targeting 29 per cent for 2003. For the first two months of this year, it has been 19 per cent.

Innes cited various factors for the previously high turnover. He said: 'It was a mix of things - we didn't provide people with career opportunities and had not been good at internal promotions.'

Training and career development is now being improved. Vision Express UK and Eire generated a sales rise of 3 per cent to£211.7 million for the year ended December 2002. Pre-tax profits at the 105 company-owned stores rose 51 per cent to£9.6 million as a result of improved margins.

Approximately 16 stores a year will be converted to Vision Express's Optical Lab format until 2007. Vision Express will open three new joint venture stores this year.