To protect customers and employees during the current coronavirus crisis, Mister Spex has recently decided to switch its 21 stores in Germany to emergency care until further notice. Further new store openings, in Berlin and Munich, will be suspended. All Mister Spex online services will remain available to customers.
The majority of Mister Spex’ employees are currently working from home. The company set up a strictly separate shift system for its logistics centers, which includes the factory and the workshop, to keep the risk of coronavirus infection among employees as low as possible.
While keeping its physical stores temporarily closed because of the Covid-19 epidemic, Mister Spex, which claims to be the largest single online optician in Europe, just launched what it claims to be the first individual eyesight test conducted online. Its new app checks the eyesight for short-sighted people wearing glasses and contact lenses with refraction values in the low to medium single-vision range. Customers with the corresponding values can use the online service to check their current vision correction parameters free of charge from their homes.
The online eyesight test offered by Mister Spex was developed by Easee, a Dutch software company, which tested the application together with the Utrecht Medical Center. Mister Spex will gather feedback and experience reports from its customers on the application over the next few months. The eyesight test takes between 15 to 30 minutes. All refraction values can be subsequently validated by trained optometrists.
Meanwhile, Mister Spex has appointed Nils Vortmann to the new position of vice president of “omni-channel excellence” with effect from March 1. The 35-year-old has been head of business development, responsible for the expansion of the company’s store network in Germany, since the beginning of 2019.
Vortmann is now responsible for the internal strategic management and closer integration of online and offline sales channels. He will report directly to Mirko Caspar, the company’s chief executive. Together with Jens Peter Klatt, former vice president of multi-channel operations, Vortmann will strengthen the expansion of the brick-and-mortar part of the company while connecting it with its previous core business in online sales. Klatt will work as vice president of retail and concentrate even more on expanding the steadily growing sales organization.
Before the lockdown of its offline operations, Mister Spex opened yet another new store in Berlin at the beginning of March. Of the company’s 21 stores in Germany, four are now located in Berlin. It opened seven of these – in Magdeburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Hannover – in the second half of 2019. Two new stores in Leipzig and Nuremberg were opened in February. The company’s first physical store opened in Berlin in February 2016.
The new 110-square-meter store in Berlin will offer 800 different optical frames and sunglasses. Consumers have access also to the full range of products offered by Mister Spex online, with 11,000 models from more than 150 brands. Eye tests and frame adjustments are offered free of charge. Anti-reflective quality lenses with a refractive index of 1.5 are included in the price of single-vision glasses. Customers pay only for the frame.
The omni-channel eyewear retailer has decided to suspend the opening of new stores in Germany. It had previously declared its intention to have 40 stores in operation by the end of 2020. Mister Spex has online stores in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the Netherlands. For services such as eye tests and eyewear adjustments, the company also operates with over 500 partner opticians in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.
In February, Mister Spex completed another round of equity financing, for over €15 million. It was led by the Co- Investor Group, which provides capital to medium-sized companies and has offices in Zurich, Frankfurt and Berlin. Mister Spex’ new capital injection complements a round of financing for over €65 million at the end of last August. That round was led by the Büll Family Office, based in Hamburg, with the participation of existing investors, among them Grazia Equity, Stephan Schambach and Ehssan Dariani. Global Growth Capital provided senior debt.
The proceeds of both financing rounds will flow into the company’s omni-channel expansion, internationalization and logistical upgrades.