A few days ago, Fielmann announced its acquisition of a 70 percent stake in Optika Clarus, a chain of 26 optical retail stores that claims a 30 percent market share in Slovenia. The takeover was described as an important step in the Vision 2025 program outlined by the group's new chief executive, Marc Fielmann, who turned 30 in July.

His program calls among other things for the leading German optical retail group to enter four new markets by 2025 through organic expansion and acquisitions, but this is the first case of external growth since Fielmann entered the Swiss market in 1995 by taking over Pro-Optik. With the acquisition of Optika Clarus, which became effective on Sept. 1, Fielmann now has a presence in 14 different countries in Europe.

Challenging GrandVision, which is set to be taken over by EssilorLuxottica, Fielmann also wants to become the leading optical retail in Europe by 2025, selling a quarter of all the glasses on the continent and reaching an annual turnover of €2.3 billion. Marc Fielmann outlined this plan at the company's annual meeting in July and confirmed it at a conference with financial analysts on Aug. 30, after announcing its entry into the Slovenian market.

Optika Clarus is a family business founded in 1989 by Tihomir Krsti?, who will retain a 30 percent stake in the company and continue to be involved in the business. Fielmann will contribute access to its international supply chain, offering fashionable eyewear at good prices, and its new expertise in omni-channel retailing.

Two new Optika Clarus stores will be opened before the end of this year, and the network should be expanded to more than 30 stores across Slovenia in the medium term. The acquisition price for Optika Clarus was not revealed. The transaction is part of Fielmann's plan to invest more than €200 million between 2019 and 2020 in its omni-channel business model, the development of its store network and its internationalization.

Beyond the core markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Fielmann has stores also in other Eastern European countries with lower per capita consumption: Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Russia (in Kaliningrad, formerly Königsberg). It also has stores in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and it has worked with a traditional French retailer in Strasbourg, Optique Marmet, since 2017. It recently entered the northern part of the Italian market, where it has been developing rapidly.