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The Vision Council Launches Optical Retail Division

The Vision Council has announced the launch of its new Optical Retail Division, which will focus on the unique business needs of optical retailers and the relationship between retail and wholesale. The announcement was made today during The Vision Council’s annual Executive Summit, a gathering of high-level executives from across the industry to hear economic and business trends in and outside the industry. This year’s Executive Summit is being held at the Hotel Del in Coronado, CA.
 
"The relevance of retail's role in the optical industry cannot be understated," says Mike Hundert, CEO of De Rigo REM and chairman of The Vision Council's Board of Directors. "As the industry has evolved, so has the relationship between retail and wholesale. The Optical Retail Division will enable The Vision Council and its members to stay at the forefront of how consumers experience and purchase optical products, and further our ability to empower better lives through better vision."
 
The 2018 Executive Summit has 35+ retail representatives from 16 different optical retailers in attendance, many of whom are existing members of The Vision Council through operating divisions such as the Lab Division. These companies, who have become the founding Optical Retail Division members, are able to maintain membership under each applicable division.

Many of these representatives attended an inaugural Optical Retail Division meeting earlier today, where they learned more about The Vision Council's current programs and discussed potential future programs for the division. The organization will continue to engage with these and other key leaders in optical retail in the development of programs and services, and is in the process of recruiting an Optical Retail Division Liaison to further these relationships and best meet the needs of the newly announced division.
 
Optical Market Research Presented
The Summit included The Vision Council's inaugural 'State of the Industry' address, with updates on the issues of highest priority to the industry today.
In addition to updates on regulatory and compliance issues, Senior Director of Industry Research Services Steve Kodey provided attendees with a U.S. Optical Market overview with the latest VisionWatch market research data that indicates the market is expected to grow by 1.8% in 2018. Kodey examined how usage, managed vision care, and other factors were impacting recent and future optical markets, and demonstrated how improving economic conditions, the growth of online sales and rising future intent have grown certain segments of the industry–OTC readers and contact lenses–more than others.
 
Attendees also learned that niche markets–including sports sunglasses and free-form lenses–are growing faster than overall optical, and were given tips for taking advantage of the changing optical environment to maximize sales and future growth.
 
Board Business
Each member of The Vision Council's officers was confirmed for a second one-year term today during the summit's Business Meeting portion, including Mike Hundert, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of De Rigo REM as chairman of the Board, Ken Bradley of Eschenbach Optik as vice chairman, Robert Liener of A&A Optical as the secretary/treasurer, and Marty Bassett of Walman Optical as immediate past chairman. Confirmed for a second two-year term as directors at large were Ray Khalil of Lafont USA, Don Oakley of VSP Optics Group, and Catherine Rauscher of Transitions Optical. Rebecca Geifer of MODO Eyewear was confirmed for an initial two-year term as director at large. The complete roster for the 2018 Board of Directors can be found at thevisioncouncil.org.