Full-line US department stores to decline 18-20% by 2023

There are currently just under 6,000 full-line department stores in the United States but a report by Coresight Research predicts that number will decline by 1,100 to 1,200 by 2023 due to store closings, a drop of about 18 per cent to 20 per cent.

The report also noted that some department store companies, such as Macy’s, are placing more emphasis on the quality of the shopping experience, which may indicate that the department store sector will turn its focus to the “better-invested, higher-quality and probably smaller stores in higher-traffic locations in the next few years.”

By | June 24th, 2018|Business|

Sceats Group joining Sunshades Eyewear

The Jono Hennessy Group, headed by Jonathan and Louise Sceats, is joining Sunshades Eyewear on 1 July.

The business partnership is the culmination of a personal and professional friendship that was started by Sunshades Eyewear founder, Betty Lasse, and Jonathan (Jono) Hennessy Sceats over 30 years ago.

“Betty Lasse was my first account and she was so supportive; my designs at the time were a totally new look and not receiving much interest. However, Betty sold them well at her pharmacy at Bondi Beach, and Vogue did a story, so it was all then accepted,” Jonathan Sceats said.

The partnership will continue to enable Jonathan and his wife Louise to focus on design and marketing and to continue to evolve their boutique brands.

Sunshades Eyewear will provide back-end support across merchandise planning, finance, and supply-chain management. Sales of the brands Jono Hennessy, Carter Bond and Zeffer will continue to be managed by the Jono Hennessy Group.


Eye Candy Optics appoints two

Eye Candy Optics has appointed Sydney-based Sarah Huve as New South Wales and ACT sales representative and Shila Roshini as sales representative for Queensland.

Sarah has a sales background and years of experience in eyewear sales specifically, most recently at Safilo Australia.

Shila is an optometrist with sales experience at Johnson and Johnson Vision Care.


By | June 3rd, 2018|Business|

Novartis’ top legal counsel quits over payments to Trump lawyer’s private company

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on 16 May announced the retirement of its group general legal counsel, Mr Felix Ehrat, as he apologised for payments made by the company to United States President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Mr Michael Cohen.

The announcement came after Novartis was dragged into the scandal over Mr Cohen’s payment of $US130,000 to US adult film actor Ms ‘Stormy’ Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election.

On 9 May, Novartis said it had signed a one-year contract for $US100,000 a month with Mr Cohen’s firm in February 2017, seeking advice on the new Trump administration’s public health policy.

Following a meeting with Mr Cohen, the company changed its mind, although Novartis was contractually obliged to pay him the full $1.2 million.

US special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the payments as a strand of his wider investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and allegations of collusion and obstruction of justice by the Trump campaign.

Mr Trump originally denied having an affair with Ms Daniels, who goes by her stage name rather than her real name of Stephanie Clifford, more than a decade ago. But one of the newest members of Mr Trump’s legal team, former federal prosecutor and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, has

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By | May 20th, 2018|Business|

Chain tops consumer survey of optometrists

Eyecare Plus has taken top spot in Canstar Blue’s 2018 customer satisfaction ratings for optometrists, recording five stars in most research categories, including service and advice, range of products and after-sale service.

The report on the survey said 14% of adults admitted that they get their eyes tested less frequently than every two years with another check-up; the majority of respondents said they get their eyes checked every one to two years (60%), while 22% do so every six to 12 months and 3% visit their optometrist every six months, or more frequently.

Sixty-three per cent of Australians said they always visit the same optometrist, with good customer service and support the most common reason for doing so, well ahead of convenience and price.

The report said:

  • Eyecare Plus was the only chain to score five stars for overall satisfaction, while also earning top marks in most other research areas.
  • Budget Eyewear, OPSM, Optical Superstore and Specsavers all achieved four stars overall, with Optical Superstore standing out with five stars for service and advice and value for money.
  • Big W Optical and Laubman & Pank both received just three stars overall, with a mix of four and three stars across the board.

Additional information: www.canstarblue.com.au/health-beauty/optometrist/.

By | May 20th, 2018|Business|

Britain’s Marks and Spencer enters optical retail

 British retail giant Marks and Spencer is to trial optician practices in five of its stores, Optician magazine reports.

The in-store concessions will be run by Galaxy Optical and branded as M&S Opticians.

The five locations are: Bolton, York, Derby, Manchester and London’s Westfield White City.

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said: “As part of our transformation plan we’re adapting our UK store estate to better appeal to our existing customers and attract new ones.

“One way we’re repositioning space is welcoming concessions into M&S stores. We’re already running a trial with Wasabi in our Foodhalls and now we’re extending this program with M&S Opticians.

“Working with an expert partner, Galaxy Optician Services, we’ll be carefully monitoring the trial.”

Concessions are scheduled for opening in the northern summer.

By | May 20th, 2018|Business|

Pharmaceutical company’s subsidiary made payments to company owned by Trump’s lawyer

Novartis Investments SARL, a subsidiary of Swiss-based multinational pharmaceutical giant Novartis, made four payments of $US99,980 each to a United States company, Essential Consultants LLC, owned by Mr Michael Cohen, a lawyer for the President of the United States, Mr Donald Trump.

The four payments were made between October 2017 and January 2018.

Novartis – whose chief executive was among 15 business leaders invited to dinner with Mr Trump at the World Economic Forum in January – spent more than $US10 million on lobbying in Washington last year and frequently seeks approvals from federal drug regulators.

Novartis said in a statement that its agreement with Essential Consultants has expired.

Mr Cohen created Essential Consultants in Delaware less than two weeks before he completed his deal with porn actress Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford), who is now contesting her contract with Mr Cohen as invalid. He initially said he paid her out of his own pocket by way of a home equity line of credit.

But last week, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York said that Mr Trump had reimbursed Mr Cohen through several $35,000 monthly transactions that amounted to more than $400,000 – covering the payment to Ms Clifford and, he said, other “incidental” expenses.

By | May 16th, 2018|Business|



Carl Zeiss Medic experiences ‘solid growth’

Carl Zeiss Meditec AG on 16 May announced it experienced solid growth for the six months ended 30 March, partly due to the strong performance of its microsurgery strategic business unit.

The company reported despite negative currency effects, revenue grew to €613.7 million, an increase of 4.5 per cent from year ago, or 9.5 per cent adjusted for currency effects.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to around €90 million versus €89.1 million the prior year.

The adjusted EBIT margin was 14.7 per cent compared with 15.2 per cent a year ago.


Lens sales boost Hoya’s 4Q 2017 revenue

Lens sales boosted total sales for the Hoya Group during the fourth quarter ended 31 March, rising 7.6 per cent year on year, reaching 135,923 million yen, and 7 per cent on a constant currency basis.

During the fourth quarter, Hoya’s Life Care unit posted 91.9 million yen in sales, a 10 per cent increase over year ago, and an 8 per cent increase on a constant currency basis.

Lens sales rose 12 per cent, or 2 per cent like-for-like, compared with fourth quarter 2016. Contact lens sales rose 5 per cent versus a year ago; IOL sales rose 14 per cent versus a year ago.
Despite recording 5,615 million yen in

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By | May 16th, 2018|Business|

Essilor shareholders approve 6 directors for EssilorLuxottica

At the company’s annual general meeting on 25 April, Essilor International’s shareholders voted in favor of renewing the mandates of six of the company’s directors – Louise Frechette, Jeanette Wong, Antoine Bernard de Saint-Affrique, Bernard Hours, Marc Onetto and Olivier Pecoux.

Additionally, the shareholders appointed Ms Wong as director of the board of directors of EssilorLuxottica, the company that will be created upon completion of the pending merger of Essilor and Luxottica.

Executives from the two companies have previously said they expect the merger to become finalised in mid-2018. It has already been cleared by Australian, European and United States regulatory authorities, and is awaiting approval from Chinese regulators.


By | April 29th, 2018|Business|

US retail giant Walmart in purchase talks with Humana health insurer

United States retail giant Walmart is in the early stages of talks to buy health insurer Humana, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and other news media on 30 March.

An acquisition would be the latest in a series of high-profile deals that could reshape the health care industry in the US, including CVS Health’s planned acquisition of Aetna.

The acquisition of Aetna was overwhelmingly approved by Aetna shareholders last month, but may face opposition from federal regulators over anti-trust and consumer-protection issues.

Walmart’s market capitalization is $US263 billion ($A341 billion) and the retailer posted $13.6 billion in net income in 2017 on revenue of $485.1 billion.

The company is the third-largest US optical retailer, with its optical business generating sales of $1.7 billion in 2016. It operates 3,575 units, including 3,000 Walmart Vision Centers and 575 Sam’s Optical Club outlets; National Vision operates additional Walmart Vision Centers.

Humana’s market value is $37 billion. In 2017, the company reported net income of $2.4 billion on revenue of $53.8 billion. Its vision-care-insurance business generated $2.2 billion in revenue in 2017.


By | April 18th, 2018|Business|

Hoya to close its Sydney Rx surfacing laboratory

Hoya Lens Australia Pty Ltd is to close down its prescription lens surfacing laboratory in Sydney at the end of this month.

The company’s purpose-built headquarters and lens laboratory is due to be demolished, following the sale of the property in Bourke Road, Alexandria, to make way for a road extension to be built by City of Sydney Council.

More than 80 staff (employees and contractors) in lens grinding and fitting, lens coating and warehouse have been given notice, and machinery and equipment will be packed up and shipped to Tokyo-based Hoya Corporation’s massive laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hoya Lens Australia will be sourcing coated prescription lenses from the laboratory in Bangkok, in common with some other Australian-based companies sourcing from Asian laboratories.

Lens fitting, largely through outside contractors, will continue to be provided in Sydney in nearby premises at Botany where the greatly-reduced company will re-establish.

When Hoya Lens Australia arrived in Australia in 1976, it brought high-tech lenses, including those with multi-coatings and a wide range of designs, before long developing a strong reputation for its products.

In its heyday, Hoya Lens Australia had 100 staff at its Alexandria laboratory and was producing about 2,000 high-dollar-value lenses per day.

By | March 19th, 2018|Business|