Vision Group is now offering FittingBox' marketing virtual try-on technology to its members. Krys, the French buying group that was a partner of the Italian group in a former European cooperative, Garro, had successfully introduced FittingBox in its stores five years. As reported in our last issue, Atol les Opticiens, another French group where some of its members use FittingBox, has taken the place of Krys in a new Italo-French-Spanish cooperative, Retina, along with Spain's Cione.

Besides its “magic mirror,” FittingBox offers a package of services to help retailers manage their inventories. The client of the optician that has signed up for the package can access the group's database and try the models virtually on his or her own face on the interactive computer screen. If the chosen pair is available in the store, the purchase is immediate. If not, it takes just 24 hours for its delivery. The stock available in the warehouse can be constantly reviewed and the necessary reorders can be placed in real time.

FittingBox, which is about to announce a major agreement in the U.S., equipped a total of 1,800 more physical and online optical retail stores around the world in the last 12 months, building to a total of 4,500 points of sale. Its database consists of about 35,000 styles of prescription frames and sunglasses by about 400 brands, one-third of which are private labels.

Pending publication of its annual results, Vision Group's management reports a 4 percent increase on a same-store basis in the affiliated retailers' turnover in 2015, making up for a drop in the previous year to €380 million. The number of members increased by 7.5 percent to 1,600.

The premium chain of the group, Vision Ottica, reached its objective with a sales increase of 12 percent and a total of 250 affiliated stores. Some 80 percent of the new recruits were already Vision Group members who decided to step up their commitment.