Prescription Eyewear Limited, the parent company of Glasses Direct (Europe’s largest online retailer of prescription eyewear) announced today that it has acquired Sunglasses Shop, Europe’s largest online retailer of designer sunglasses.
Glasses Direct and Sunglasses Shop will continue to operate separately, but the combination immediately creates a clear leader in the online eyewear market in Europe. Together the sites attract more than 8 million unique visitors annually and sell nearly a quarter of a million pairs per year, or a pair every two minutes.
Kevin Cornils, CEO of Glasses Direct comments: “From day one we have set out to be the leader in online eyewear retailing. Glasses Direct pioneered the prescription glasses market with innovations like our unlimited Home Trial, providing advice from qualified opticians over the phone and our ‘no quibble’ 14 day money-back guarantee.”
He continues: “Sunglasses Shop is the clear leader in the sunglasses market, with an unbeatable selection of over 8,000 frames, all of which are carried in-stock and available for guaranteed next-day delivery. They have unrivalled knowledge of performance and sports sunglasses, and are also the destination for celebrity news and fashion advice, all key elements for the sunglasses market.”
Sunglasses Shop, which will continue to be based and operated from Southend-on-Sea in the UK, recently expanded its business across Europe with sites now live in twelve languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Daniel Puddick, Sunglasses Shop Managing Director and founder said: “Working closely with the management team and investors at Glasses Direct will allow us to greatly accelerate our plans to grow our business in the UK, as well as expand our European business where we believe there is tremendous opportunity. We’re excited to be part of Prescription Eyewear Limited, and we share Glasses Direct’s entrepreneurial vision to change the way people feel about buying eyewear online.”
Both the www.glassesdirect.co.uk and www.sunglassesshop.com websites will continue to operate as separate brands, but the combined businesses will have over 100 employees based in London, Swindon and Southend-on-Sea. Glasses Direct’s existing venture capital investors – Index Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Acton Capital Partners – all contributed to support the transaction.
“Working with Sunglasses Shop is part of our ongoing strategy to have the best in class proposition in all segments of the online eyewear market.“ said Cornils. “Both websites offer a fantastic range of quality products which customers can access from the convenience of their own home or office, saving both time and money in the process. We’re looking forward to working together.”
About Sunglasses Shop
- Sunglasses Shop is the largest independent supplier of designer sunglasses across Europe and now has websites in 12 languages.
- Sunglasses Shop offers an unparalleled choice of luxury and performance sunglasses from over 100 brands including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Chanel, Dior, Prada, Gucci, Serengeti, Maui Jim, Oliver Peoples, Victoria Beckham and Tom Ford.
- Sunglasses Shop stocks all the sunglasses it sells, ready for guaranteed next day delivery in the UK.
- Every employee at Sunglasses Shop is carefully selected and attends regular training days with suppliers so they know the ranges inside out. It means Sunglasses Shop can offer totally unbiased advice on any of its products.
- Sunglasses Shop was established in 2003 by Managing Director, Daniel Puddick, a Central St. Martin’s graduate, and Marketing Director Dagmara Alicja Barcz, an ex-innovation consultant & Cambridge alumnus. They were soon joined by Operations Director, Andrew Puddick. The business grew to become leader in the UK and is now expanding across Europe.
About Glasses Direct
As Europe's largest online prescription eyewear store, Glasses Direct sells a pair of prescription glasses every few minutes. The company established the online eyewear market in the UK by focusing on innovations like the Home Trial and customer access to qualified opticians over the phone, transforming the way that people buy glasses. Glasses Direct strives to offer its customers a better experience than the high street, through:
- Better Choice – Customers can browse thousands of products from its designer and own-label collections. With the Unlimited Home Trial, customers can try on their favourite frames in the comfort of their own home and get opinions from friends and family without the sales pressure of the high street.
- Unmatched Convenience – Glasses Direct gives its customers the choice to shop whenever and wherever you want, with glasses being delivered direct to their door.
- Superb Value - Glasses Direct are able to exploit their strong web based position to ensure that all products, including designer rangers are supplied to their customers at attractive prices.
- Faster Delivery - With 70% of orders shipped within 3 days from its own UK laboratory, Glasses Direct customers receive their glasses when they really need them.
- 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed – Glasses Direct offers all of their customers a free ‘no quibble’ 14 day returns service. Its customers can also talk to a helpful team of qualified opticians at any point if they desire.
The company is based in London and Swindon and employs 75 staff. Glasses Direct was founded in 2004 by UK entrepreneur Jamie Murray Wells.