After looking at the recent changes in the optical retail market, the Prins family, which has been in this business in Holland for more than 80 years, has agreed to sell 10 of its 14 Prins Brillen stores to Specsavers Optical Group, raising to 61 the number of stores operated by Specsavers joint venture partners in the Netherlands. One of the alternatives would have been to invest more on marketing and other actions to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.

The takeover was orchestrated by Reidar Bakker, the European business development manager of Specsavers. Based in Belgium, he is looking for other acquisition opportunities in Holland and in other European countries.

Specsavers, which now is the #3 factor in the Dutch optical retail market, says the acquisition will be an important step toward the stated goal of becoming the market leader in Holland. The Prins stores being sold are located in Amsterdam and in North Holland. After their takeover, which was completed on Sept. 1, about 4 out of 5 Dutch people are within 20 minutes away from a Specsavers store.

The British retail group is now recruiting qualified new partners to take over the management of the 10 stores, which will be converted to the Specsavers format in October. All employees will be retained and 15 more will be added, with the goal of boosting sales to double the level of the average Dutch optical store. Joop Michielsen director of Prins Brillen, will continue to run the family's remaining 4 stores in Amsterdam under the name of Oogmerk Opticien Prins Brillen.