Targeting independent retailers in the U.K., Fabris Lane, which has been the largest supplier of sunglasses in the country, has set up a full-fledged ophthalmic frame division, launching three new lines and appointing a new dedicated sales manager, Andy Brown.

Bown joined the group last January, after spending almost 20 years in the eyewear industry, most recently with Marchon's office in the U.K.. He started off in 1991 at Bausch & Lomb's former spectacles division.

Fabris Lane will work closely, but not exclusively, with two British buying groups ? the National Eyecare Group and Sight Care ? with the stated goal of helping their independently run retail members to offer new and distinctive products that will set them apart from the major chains. For Sight Care, a buying group that has about 250 opticians as members, Fabris Lane is the first supplier of frames to have been approved in five years. NEG has about 900 members, and Fabris Lane will organize different promotional activities for them.

Expanding its offer in the prescription frame sector, the company has launched large collections in this category under the Jiigsaw, Nicole Fahri and Ben Sherman brand names, which it has already been licensing for sunglasses. It plans to do the same soon with another important new license, Fat Face.

Fabris Lane claims to be the largest eyewear company overall in the U.K.. It sold a total of 4.5 million sunglasses and frames last year, mostly on its home market, carrying an estimated retail value of £85 million (€107.7m-$169.0m). Most of them were still sunglasses. Rod Lane; chief executive of the company, is also chairman of the European Sunglass Association.