Acuitis, the chain of stores specializing in vision care solutions that handle hearing deficiencies at the same time, has just launched its first web shop. Meanwhile, its network of corporate and franchised stores has grown to a total of 65 units in six countries, only ten of which are directly owned. It is targeting about 30 new openings in 2018, with half of them already in the pipeline.
Established in 2010 by Daniel Abittan, one of the founders of GrandVision, it is run by his 40-year-old son Jonathan. The chain went a long way this year toward its objective of acquiring a presence in ten European countries by the 2020. It opened its first stores in the U.K., Canada and Italy in the course of 2017, and it is in line to enter Belgium during the first quarter of 2018. Most of its stores are in France. The others are in Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Acuitis' first Italian store opened a few weeks ago in Gallarate, north of Milan's Malpensa airport. The company has signed an exclusive master franchising deal for the Italian market with Ottitaly, the optical retail banner of Netcity, the Italian service company steered by Laurent Schmitt.
Schmitt knows Daniel Abittan and his franchising director, Marcel Cézar, as they all worked at GrandVision. Schmitt ran its Italian subsidiary between 2000 and 2005. He had already signed a couple of years ago a deal for the exclusive distribution of Acuitis' collection of eyeglasses in Italy by the opticians affiliated with Netcity.
Designed by Frédéric Beausoleil, some of Acuitis' glasses discreetly incorporate a hearing device. Prescription frames and sunglasses represent about 70 percent of the company's retail turnover, which has reached an annual level of more than €50 million. The balance consists of hearing aids.
Acuitis began to make a profit two years ago. Its franchised stores generate on average annual turnover of €835,000 and tend to make a profit after three years of operation.