Specsavers celebrates a decade of changing the face of Australian optometry

Doug and Dame Mary Perkins

This week, Specsavers celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its pioneer Australian stores – the first of 100 to be rolled out in 100 days.

The opening of the Melbourne-based Little Collins Street and Collins Place practices on 21 February 2008 kicked off the ambitious plan, which foreshadowed the growth Specsavers would see in the following years. The business succeeded in achieving what is believed to be the fastest optometry store rollout ever seen in Australia, and by the end of 2008, a total of 150 Specsavers stores were open.

Today, there are 324 Specsavers stores operating across all states and territories of Australia, with approximately 3.3 million eye tests performed and 4.3 million pairs of glasses dispensed in 2017.

Specsavers was founded in the UK in 1984 by husband and wife team Doug and Dame Mary Perkins, and both optometrists were fully and personally involved in the Australian and New Zealand market entries from the very beginning.

“It seems quite extraordinary that 10 years have passed since we opened the first Specsavers practices in Australia in February 2008,” commented Doug. “Our mission in those first few years was to ‘change the face of optometry’, and 10 years on, it is remarkable to see the results.

“The average price of a pair of glasses has remained almost 50% lower than 2007 prices, the optometry market has trebled in size, and Australians have more choice and better value than ever before. In 2008, Australians were typically returning for an eye test every five years – in Specsavers stores we know that is now every 2.2 years.

“Along the way we have grown our network to 324 joint venture partnership practices and propelled hundreds of optometrists and dispensers into business for themselves, most for the first time. In the process, every time we open a store, more than 15 local jobs are created – many of those in regional and sometimes more remote areas.

“Specsavers is, at its very core, a partnership, and the unstinting hard work of Specsavers store partners in every state and territory, every town and local community has made possible the success to date.

“Importantly, our growth is set to continue, and in the next 10 years we have a lofty but attainable goal – to transform eye health in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.”