Operational highlights

In 2015, we saw favorable market conditions across our business. In our European markets, demand was driven by demographic trends as well as the consumers' continued focus on value and quality. In our emerging markets, weaker economic conditions have generally translated into greater price sensitivity, which benefited our affordable offering, and demonstrated the resilience of our business model, especially in Latin America. These favorable underlying market trends and the continued execution of our commercial strategy enabled us to achieve comparable growth of 4.1% in 2015.

Operational information

2015

2014

Number of stores

6,110

5,814

Number of own stores

5,014

4,744

Number of franchise stores

1,096

1,070

Number of countries in which GrandVision is present

44

43

Number of retail banners

34

33

Number of employees (average FTE)

27,510

25,776

In December, GrandVision completed the acquisition of the U.S.-based optical chain For Eyes, an integrated U.S.-based optical retailing network with 116 stores and a strong presence along the East Coast. The United States is the world’s largest optical retail market and is expanding futher, due to a growing and aging population with an increasing need for eye care. Following the acquisition, the U.S. business has been included in the Americas & Asia segment (previously Latin America & Asia).

An operational priority in 2015 was the integration of businesses acquired in the previous year. Optical retail chains acquired in China, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Peru, Turkey and the United Kingdom were fully integrated in 2015. Customers in the new markets of China, Peru and Turkey have begun to experience the benefits of our offerings, which includes our Exclusive Brand portfolio and our simple, safe and honest customer journey. In Italy, the two retail banners, Avanzi and Optissimo, have been merged into one organization with an aligned commercial strategy.

In 2015, GrandVision further optimized and expanded its store network by investing in existing stores, and opening and acquiring new stores. The acquisitions, combined with a continued organic expansion of the store network, led to a total Group store network of 6,110 stores at year-end 2015, of which 5,014 were own stores and 1,096 were franchise stores. The number of own stores grew faster than the number of franchise stores, as the acquired businesses mainly operate own stores.

The Americas & Asia segment saw the largest increase of its store base, from 1,175 stores at the end of 2014 to 1,370 in 2015. The increase is mainly attributable to the acquisition of For Eyes in the United States, and the network expansion in the region through new store openings. In Mexico alone, 60 new stores were opened during the year as we further expanded the successful MasVisión retail banner.