A new buying group was established in Italy three months ago, with 70 sales outlets on the country's mainland territory. But the members of Optical Master Club have no commercial obligations: For example, even when the Club has an agreement with a supplier, the individual members may refuse to go through the Club's channels and negotiate a more favorable agreement directly with the supplier. This high level of autonomy is one of the specific characteristics of Optical Master Club, making it more a select «club» of top-end stores than a buying group in the traditional sense of the term.
However, among the services offered by OMC is the negotiation of prices with suppliers and the return of unsold inventory. The group will also assist in the creation of exclusive house brands for the individual members, which they would be entitled to continue using even if they later leave the group. Also in the pipeline is the creation of a number of working groups, one of which would monitor the eyewear brand market via questionnaires distributed in all the sales outlets.
Alongside the manager of OMC, Sergio Colesanti, formerly with Zeiss, is Lorenzo Barberini, chairman of the new group and owner of four stores in the center of Italy. Until 2000, Barberini was owner of the eponymous manufacturer of mineral lenses, which he subsequently sold to Ilva di Saronno.
In 2005 that company, Barberini Spa, generated revenues of €37.2 million, up 2.5 percent year on year, and net profit of €6.7 million, up 5.7 percent. More recent results could not be obtained.