Specsavers store partners converged at the 2017 Partnership Seminar to celebrate the business’s 10th anniversary as annual sales achieve record result.

Saturday 4 March 2017 witnessed a marathon day and evening event series for more than 600 Specsavers store partners at the newly re-opened International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney. A full day of Partnership Seminar presentations was accompanied by an all-day Support Office expo, followed by an ‘Awards for Excellence’ Dinner in the evening.

Specsavers global CEO John Perkins delivered a keynote address during the day as the Seminar’s guest speaker. Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) Managing Director Nigel Parker also set the scene for the business in the year ahead while recapping Specsavers’ first 10 years in the local market.

Nigel talked about the extraordinary growth that has seen the franchise expand from a zero base in 2007 – when Specsavers opened its original wholesaling and manufacturing business in Port Melbourne – to the point where the store partners are collectively closing in on $1 billion of collective annual sales across Australia and New Zealand.

Also during the day, a series of annual business plan items were presented to the store partners by Support Office teams, including one from Optometry Director Peter Larsen and Optometry Development Manager Dr Ben Ashby, who provided a future view of clinical excellence, backed by a number of new initiatives. Three store partners were also appointed to the Specsavers ANZ Operating Board, marking a new era of collaboration for the Specsavers Partnership.

In the expo, 20 Support Office stands were on offer, including three fully operational model stores with all the latest diagnostic and automated equipment, including OCTs. Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan was also present, helping out on the Product Team stands.

A lavish dinner was held in the evening, where awards were presented to partners whose stores had excelled in seven categories. The event was capped off by a very special appearance by Dame Edna Everage who presented a cheque to the evening’s charity partners, CanTeen Australia and CanTeen New Zealand. The sum of $125,400 was raised over the course of the evening via the event’s Platinum Prize Draw.

For the first time, the Specsavers Partnership Seminar, expo and awards dinner featured outside facilitation – Channel 9 Finance Editor Ross Greenwood hosted and facilitated the daytime sessions, while Today show co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson acted as master of ceremonies at the Awards for Excellence Dinner.

Record revenue
The partners had much to celebrate as it was revealed that Specsavers’ Australian and New Zealand stores had achieved more than $850 million and $120 million revenues respectively for the year to 28 February 2017 – a significant lift in annual sales from $780 million and $108 million.

With a total of 370 stores, more than four million pairs of glasses were dispensed in a 12-month period for the first time last year.

Reviewing the results, Peter Larsen said it had become very clear that the whole optical market was growing and had been for some years.

“There has been a striking change to the size of the market since we opened our first stores nine years ago,” he stated. “Back then, in 2007, IBISWorld was telling us that the Australian prescription optical market was worth about $800 million per year, while the marketing spend for the whole industry was just $6 million. Today, we see a very different landscape.

“In the past year, Specsavers Australian stores alone recorded annual sales of $860 million while our own marketing fund for the year ahead will spend $50+ million. And now IBISWorld is forecasting that in 2017 the Australian prescription optics market will be worth more than $2.3 billion. The market is almost three times larger than it was 10 years ago.”

He added that Specsavers forecast continued growth for store partners. “While it is too early to tell what the percentage growth might be, I can say that we have certain growth goals we believe are achievable and we have a range of marketing, professional development and product plans in place to help us achieve them.”