Boots Opticians will close all of its 28 regional glazing centers and outsource the related operations to Hoya over the next three months. The decision follows a two-month trial period that involved 29 Boots practices working with Hoya Lens UK, which has invested heavily in new facilities over the past couple of years. The 150-odd employees who worked at the centers have been invited transfer to Hoya, but because of the long commute many of them are expected to leave. The glazing center project reportedly was clipping along nicely until Boots ran low on inventories of certain materials, causing delays. Boots Opticians has said that shifting its glazing to Hoya will simplify its supply chain.
Separately, Boots Opticians hosted a ?Big Eye Test Week? from Sept. 3 to Sept. 9 during which it offered free vision tests. It has launched a website, www.eyeqtest.co.uk, which encourages all kinds of people to have their eyesight tested regularly. In its new initiatives, Boots is quoting the findings of a recent report released by the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB). The report concludes that obesity doubles the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In the UK, an estimated 10 million adults and 2 million children are overweight.
Boots Opticians is a unit of Boot plc, which merged a few weeks ago with Alliance Unichem to form a huge pan-European network of pharmacies and related wholesale operations, called Alliance Boots, with annual sales of about €19 billion. It has about 3,000 stores, of which 2,600 are located in the UK, and 380 distribution centers that supply 125,000 drugstores, hospitals and other health centers.