Alain Afflelou, France's largest franchised eyewear group, will soon be opening its first stores in China, in partnership with the China-based MeiLu Vision group. Afflelou will make its debut in the country this spring with four stores in the Sichuan region, in central China, around 1,500 km from Shanghai and Beijing. The French group has chosen Chongqing and Chengdu, two large cities of 32 million and 9 million inhabitants, respectively. The stores will open under the Afflelou Paris banner, to draw attention to the French origins of the group and attract Chinese consumers, who widely and generally appreciate French products.
Afflelou has now a presence in 14 countries, with a particularly strong position outside France in Spain, with 300 stores, Belgium, with around 40 stores, as well as Portugal, Switzerland, Portugal, Morocco and Tunisia. In 2016 the group will also be opening its first stores in Chile as part of the international expansion strategy of its optical retail network.
At the same time, Afflelou is developing its network of hearing aid stores. Launched in 2012, it generated €20 million in 2015 with 127 stores and sales counters in France and 30 in Spain at the end of the year. The number of points of sales is expected to rise to 180 in France this year through a program that allows customers to pay as little as €39 per month for a pair of hearing aids over a period of 48 months, with the right to get one of them replaced during the period.