Operational highlights

In 2016, market conditions in eyewear continued to be favorable overall. While markets in Western Europe, North American and Asia showed similar growth levels compared to the previous year, market growth rates in Eastern Europe and Latin America were impacted by a more challenging consumer environment, particularly in Russia and Brazil.

Demand for eye care continues to be driven by long term demographic trends as well as consumers' focus on value and quality. These favorable underlying market trends and the continued execution of our commercial strategy enabled us to achieve a comparable growth of 2.2% in 2016 and total revenue growth at constant exchange rates of 6.5%. As a result, we further increased our global market share and strengthened our position as a leading global optical retailer.

Operational information

2016

2015

Number of stores

6,516

6,110

Number of own stores

5,402

5,014

Number of franchise stores

1,114

1,096

Number of countries in which GrandVision is present

44

44

Number of retail banners

29

34

Number of employees (average FTE)

28,766

27,510

During 2016, GrandVision completed two bolt-on acquisitions of optical retail chains in Latin America. We acquired Optica Lux in Uruguay, making us the market leader in Uruguay. In addition, we strengthened our market position in Mexico through the acquisition of 181 small store-in-store points of sale within the Walmart network and started to integrate them into our MasVisión network.

One operational priority in 2016 was the integration of businesses acquired in previous years. We made considerable progress with the restructuring and integration of the For Eyes business in the United States through the alignment of the commercial strategies and operations to the GrandVision model. We also strengthened the back office with the capabilities to build an expansion platform for the future.

Following the acquisition of the Randazzo business in late 2014, we started to rebrand our Avanzi and Optissimo stores in Italy to GrandVision. As the market leader in Italy we are now using a single retail banner, which allows us to increase customer awareness by communicating with a single brand on national and social media channels.

In 2016, GrandVision further optimized and expanded its store network by investing in existing stores, and opening and acquiring new stores. The acquisitions, combined with a continued organic expansion of the store network, led to a total Group store network of 6,516 stores at year-end 2016, of which 5,402 were own stores and 1,114 were franchise stores. The number of own stores grew faster than the number of franchise stores, as the acquired businesses mainly operate own stores.

The Americas & Asia segment saw the largest increase of its store base, from 1,370 stores at the end of 2015 to 1,678 in 2016, now representing 26% of GrandVision's global store base. In Mexico, our store base expanded from 251 stores in 2015 to over 500 points of sale at the end of 2016 through acquistions and store openings. We also strengthened our store networks in Turkey and Colombia through store openings. In Europe, the store network was expanded in most countries, particularly in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Poland.