The Austrian-based Michael Pachleitner Group (MPG) reported on a strong expansion of the network of Optik Hallmann stores since it acquired a minority stake of 19 percent in the German chain in 2015, supplying it with German-made lenses. From only 40 stores at the time of the acquisition, it has grown to 84 locations in Germany, mostly in the northern and eastern parts of the country, plus its first 13 points of sale in Denmark, focusing on its southern area close to the German border.

The chain continues to be led by its founder, Andreas Hallmann, who sold the balance of its shares to an investment group. The expansion program is led by Dietmar Mauschitz, in charge of operations and administration for the chain, and Heinzpeter Mandl, who joined MPG four and a half years ago, as chief retail officer. He had previously made a name for himself running the big Humanic chain of shoe stores in Austria and expanding it in Germany. For ten years, he was a key executive board member of Humanic’s parent company, Leder & Schuh International.

The development will continue, Mandl said, indicating that there are plans to further expand Hallmann to the southern part of Germany. There are no plans to invest in other retail chains for the time being, he added.

For MPG, the idea is to offer a strong full-service package to customers at the stores revolving around the lenses of Schulz, a German laboratory that MPG acquired in 2008 and that was recently modernized. The stores also serve as an outlet for some of MPG’s frames and sunglasses, along with those of several other suppliers, as shown on its website. MPG’s portfolio of brands includes Daniel Hechter, Red Bull SPECT, Robert La Roche, Jérôme Boateng and Berlin Eyewear. Mandl says the idea is to offer an attractive multi-brand selection with a balanced price/performance ratio, responding to the demand from the market.