A major Spanish buying group, Central de Compras Opticas (CECOP), is negotiating to enter the German market on the strength of its special business model. Its contracts with suppliers are only valid for 12 months. Its retail members are not obliged to respect any particular conditions, but if they do, and if they achieve certain sales objectives, CECOP ?gives back? to them 3 percent of the sell-in achieved during the year with a specific supplier.

This is called the ?CECOP remunerated formula,? and is paid out to members from the group's funds. Not all the suppliers that deal with CECOP are able to offer margins that put them into the ?remunerated formula? category, in spite of the obvious incentive for opticians to purchase a particular brand. Presented at the MIDO fair earlier this month, the Spanish group has several private brands of frames - Glam, Neo, Wola for children and Sunsea for sunglasses.

Established in 1966 in Madrid, the Spanish group gradually grew to become one of the major players on the domestic market, before venturing into Portugal and then Italy. It is the biggest one in terms of affiliated outlets. CECOP currently has some 1,580 members: 1,200 in Spain, 300 in Italy and 80 in Portugal. CECOP also provides marketing and consulting services to a new Hungarian buying group, called Opticnet, with 70 outlets.

Out of the Italian outlets affiliated with the group, 30 percent are in the south and 70 percent in the north. It recently integrated a Sicilian group called COP with 45 outlets. In 2006 the group achieved a total sell-in of €94,570,380 of which Spain accounted for 75 percent, Italy 19 percent and Portugal 6 percent.