Glasses may incur an additional 1000% charge. Two former LensCrafters executives have clarified the reason.

Glasses are often a scam.

April 15, 2019

Glasses are expensive, which is a basic knowledge for many.

Designer eyeglasses can cost up to $ 400, but standard eyeglasses from companies like Pearle Vision start at around $ 80. Over the past few years, eyewear startup Warby Parker has focused on providing buyers with compelling solutions at an affordable price, but Warby Parker eyewear is still starting at $ 95.

It turns out that these prices have price increases. Moreover.

This week, the Los Angeles Times spoke with two former LensCrafters executives: Charles Dahan and E. Dean Butler, who founded LensCrafters in 1983. Both admit that the glasses are worn almost 1000%.

“For $ 4 to $ 8, you can get an amazing Warby Parker quality mount,” Butler said. “For $ 15, you can get a designer-quality frame like Prada.”

Butler added that buyers can get “premium glasses for $ 1.25 each.” He laughed when he heard that there were glasses sold for $ 800 in the United States. “I know. It’s ridiculous. It’s a complete scam.”

Butler and Dahan confirmed that the buyer was already suspicious. Prices are rising in the optics industry. What is the main culprit? Eyeglass giant Essilor Luxottica, which essentially dominates the industry.

Luxottica is an Italian eyewear company founded in 1961. The most popular brands are Oakley and Ray-Ban, but over the years there has been a wave of acquisitions such as Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision and Cole National, which own both Target and Sears Optical. Luxottica also holds licenses for designer eyewear such as Prada, Chanel, Coach, Versace, Michael Kors and Tory Burch. If you buy eyeglasses from a retail store in the United States, they may have been manufactured by Luxottica.

Essilor, a French optical company that has existed since the 19th century, has acquired about 250 companies in the last 20 years. In 2017, Essilor purchased Luxottica for about $ 24 billion. Trade experts consider the merger of Essilor Luxottica to be a monopoly, despite the approval of US and EU regulators and the passing of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust investigation. (Vox contacted the company for comment, but didn’t get an immediate response.)

Journalist Sam Knight wrote in The Guardian last year: The new company is worth about $ 50 billion, selling nearly 1 billion pairs of lenses and frames each year and hiring more than 140,000 people.

Knight delved into how the two companies operate in every aspect of the eyewear industry.

If Luxottica spends a quarter of a century buying the most important elements of optics (frames, brands, major brands), Essilor processes invisible parts, glass makers, guitar makers, orthopedic laboratories (glass). Where to assemble) has been acquired. .. The company holds over 8,000 patents worldwide and funds eye chairs.

By making such an impact on the industry, EssilorLuxottica essentially controls prices. As a member of the Optometrist Association of the United Kingdom, he told the BBC about the merger: “This gives the group control over all aspects of product delivery from the manufacturer to the end user.”

According to LensCrafters co-founder Dahan, in the 80′s and 90′s, metal or plastic eyewear cost between $ 10 and $ 15, and lenses cost about $ 5. His company sells products that cost about $ 20 to make for $ 99. But today, EssilorLuxottica marks its products up to hundreds of dollars because it’s possible.

Company control is not overlooked. In 2017, former FTC policymaker David Balto wrote an editorial calling on regulators to block the merger with Essilor Luxottica, saying buyers “need real competition to curb soaring eyeglass prices.” Said. Industry experts have long said that the power of a company is working unfairly against competing brands, even when dealing with separate entities. Not only that, but also in the buyer’s portfolio.

“That’s how they dominated so many brands,” Dahan said. “If they don’t do what they want, they’ll cut you off. Federal authorities fell asleep while driving. All these companies shouldn’t have been one. It destroyed the competition. ..

Some companies, especially e-retailers, were able to compete with the high prices of Essilor Luxottica. There is Zenni Optical, a pure digital company that sells eyeglasses for only $ 8. There is also America’s Best, a huge eyewear company with more than 400 stores across the United States.

Warby Parker was also able to stick to his own pricing structure. Launched in 2010, it has become a favorite of millennials with over 85 home try-ons and colorful fleets. Warby Parker, which hasn’t released financial figures, estimates that it earns about $ 340 million a year, compared to EssilorLuxottica’s $ 8.4 billion a year. However, it still proves that companies can sell eyeglasses to buyers who do not have strange high markup.

However, as former LensCrafters executives have revealed, many eyeglasses actually cost about $ 20 to manufacture. So even Warby Parker’s $ 95 frame can be considered expensive. Eyewear seems to be a product we overpay for forever.

Post time: Dec-10-2021