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Thread: They'd steal the eyes out of your head

  1. #1
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    Default They'd steal the eyes out of your head

    Having visited SpecSavers today, my attention was snagged by this very interesting account of a business I'd never really thought about. Apart from the fact that "the co-founder of Specsavers, Mary Perkins, is Britain’s first self-made female billionaire" you can learn here about the growing monopoly behind the apparent flourishing range of consumer choices:

    The lenses in my glasses – and yours too, most likely – are made by Essilor, a French multinational that controls almost half of the world’s prescription lens business and has acquired more than 250 other companies in the past 20 years.

    There is a good chance, meanwhile, that your frames are made by Luxottica, an Italian company with an unparalleled combination of factories, designer labels and retail outlets. Luxottica pioneered the use of luxury brands in the optical business, and one of the many powerful functions of names such as Ray-Ban (which is owned by Luxottica) or Vogue (which is owned by Luxottica) or Prada (whose glasses are made by Luxottica) or Oliver Peoples (which is owned by Luxottica) or high-street outlets such as LensCrafters, the largest optical retailer in the US (which is owned by Luxottica), or John Lewis Opticians in the UK (which is run by Luxottica), or Sunglass Hut (which is owned by Luxottica) is to make the marketplace feel more varied than it actually is.

    Between them, Essilor and Luxottica play a central, intimate role in the lives of a remarkable number of people. Around 1.4 billion of us rely on their products to drive to work, read on the beach, follow the whiteboard in biology lessons, type text messages to our grandchildren, land aircraft, watch old movies, write dissertations and glance across restaurants, hoping to look slightly more intelligent and interesting than we actually are. Last year, the two companies had a combined customer base that is somewhere between Apple’s and Facebook’s, but with none of the hassle and scrutiny of being as well known.

    Now they are becoming one. On 1 March, regulators in the EU and the US gave permission for the world’s largest optical companies to form a single corporation, which will be known as EssilorLuxottica.
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/201...ilor-luxottica

    The conclusion is not a happy one.

    The question is whether there is anyone, beyond its shareholders, that will be able to hold EssilorLuxottica to account. I’m not sure there is. The next few years might be rocky, as the new company grapples with its size and attempts to find a new leader who can define the corporation and its ultimate goals under the fading shadow of Del Vecchio. But after that, the field is open and the fundamentals are clear.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: They'd steal the eyes out of your head

    Quote Originally Posted by Hapax View Post
    Having visited SpecSavers today, my attention was snagged by this very interesting account of a business I'd never really thought about. Apart from the fact that "the co-founder of Specsavers, Mary Perkins, is Britain’s first self-made female billionaire" you can learn here about the growing monopoly behind the apparent flourishing range of consumer choices:



    https://www.theguardian.com/news/201...ilor-luxottica

    The conclusion is not a happy one.
    The idea that capitalism is to do with competition is a shaky one.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  3. #3
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    Default Re: They'd steal the eyes out of your head



    Different days, different ways
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  4. #4
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    Default Re: They'd steal the eyes out of your head

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    The idea that capitalism is to do with competition is a shaky one.
    Looks as though the auditing industry, where the Big 4 have dominated for two decades, is a haven of vigorous competition compared to the optical industry.
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: They'd steal the eyes out of your head

    As someone who has worn specs with a heavy prescription for 55+ years, I take great care about where I do business. I'm about five years away from cataract surgery, and need an annual diabetes exam in addition to a reading test.


    I always seek out an independent providers for the service aspects. I would never use a chain like Specsavers or LensCrafters.


    There's plenty of variety in the choice of frames, from $6 to $600.
    Lenses are more important and problematic. My last cost $475 each, before insurance.


    I would guess that the merger is being permitted because frames and lens are not competing products.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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