Changing the face of optometry in Australia

Ten years ago, on 21 February 2008, Specsavers opened its first two stores in Australia in Melbourne. So began probably the fastest store rollout ever seen in Australia, with 100 stores opened in 100 days and 150 stores open by the end of 2008.

Today, Specsavers optometrists perform 3.3 million eye tests a year, accounting for almost 40% of all eye tests.

Doug Perkins, seen above with his wife Dame Mary in 2008, led the expansion from Melbourne for the first five years.

He says, ‘It seems quite extraordinary that ten years have gone by. While Australians were quick to embrace the Specsavers mix of high quality clinical service, fashionable frames and incredible value, we could never have imagined the pace and scale of growth that our store partners have sustained over ten years.

‘Our mission in those first few years was to “change the face of optometry” and ten years on it is remarkable to see the results. The average price of a pair of glasses has remained almost 50 per cent lower than in 2007, the optometry market has trebled in size and Australians have more choice and better value than ever before.

‘The demand for clinical service is at all-time high and graduate optometrists are now the most highly paid graduates in Australia, pointing to significant undersupply. 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.

‘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 ten years we have a lofty but attainable goal – to transform eye health in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.’

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