1-800 Contacts will endure about $7.1-8.7 million in costs when it folds Clearlab's contact lens plant in the UK into its operations in Singapore. Both the UK and Singapore operations were operating at half capacity, the company said, and ClearLab has been losing money. The operation in the UK should be closed by the end of the year, and the facility in Singapore should be consolidated by the 3rd quarter of 2007.
Although 1-800 Contacts had expected to announce the sale of ClearLab by the end of this month, the company now says that it would be in the interest of its shareholders if it delayed the process until at least after the end of the 1st quarter. Another possibility is that the company will sell ClearLab's operation in Singapore but hold on to its license agreement for Japan and its flat-pack technology. In the meantime, 1-800 Contacts is conducting a strategic review of its retail business in the USA. The company has named Goldman Sachs to aid it in this task.
In the year ended Dec. 30, 2006, 1-800 Contacts' consolidated net sales improved by 4.5 percent to $248.7 million. Its net loss grew to $22.6 million, as compared to $2.6 million in the prior year. Retail sales in the USA rose by 3.8 percent to $227.9 million. The company expects retail sales in the USA to be in the $240-250 million range in 2007. For ClearLab, sales increased by 6.1 percent to $20.8 million in 2006. Its operating loss increased to $36.4 million from $9.4 million in 2005.