The Canadian online retailer of contact lenses and prescription frames says it obtained good results from a test conducted with a chain of optical retail stores in the U.S. that agreed to conduct eye exams on some of its local customers. Without naming the chain, Coastal Contacts said it has become its fulfillment partner for eyeglasses.
Meanwhile, Coastal has requested a delisting of its shares from the Nasdaq stock exchange in Stockholm. The last day of trading will be Feb. 28, 2013. The company is still trading on Nasdaq Capital Markets in New York. Roger Hardy and other executives of Coastal were on hand to ring its opening bell on Jan. 7, just three months after the company started trading on the American exchange.
While reducing its exposure in Europe, Coastal Contacts is expanding rapidly south of the Canadian border. In its fourth quarter ended last Oct. 31, its sales in the U.S. doubled compared with the same quarter a year earlier. The company's global sales were up by 4 percent to $50.7 million for the period, thanks largely to a 27 percent increase in sales of eyeglasses to $13.8 million.
Glasses carry higher profit margins than contact lenses for the company, yet Coastal booked a net loss of $2.6 million for the quarter, up from a loss of $1.5 million in the year-earlier period. For the full financial year, however, net losses amounted to $4.9 million, down from $5.3 million in the prior year.
Total sales for the year went up by 7 percent to $196.1 million. While sales of contact lenses increased by 3 percent to $148.2 million, sales of eyeglasses rose by 22 percent to $48 million. Private-label items represented 6 percent of the contact lenses sold and 72 percent of the company's revenues from eyeglasses.
Coastal started offering eyeglasses online only in 2009. In terms of volume, its sales in this category went up by 27 percent to 987,000 pairs in the past year. The company received a total of about 2.3 million orders for contact lenses and eyeglasses in the course of the year. Its customer base reached 4.3 million people.