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Eyewear Retailers Lose Over $26B Due to Poor-Fitting Frames, Study Finds

Fuel3D released new study results.

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A new report by Fuel3D, a provider of 3D capture and measurement solutions, reveals that poor-fitting eyewear costs ECPs and eyewear retailers more than $26 billion a year.

Fuel3D’s study, which looks at the importance of fit on buyer experience in the UK and US, shows that more than one in four adults (28%) struggle to find eyewear that fits and as a result more than half (55%) end up leaving eyewear stores empty-handed. In addition, the study suggests that nearly half of eyewear purchases are returned or have to be adjusted due to poor fit, resulting in further financial loss.

Fuel3D’s “Delivering a Fitted Experience in Eyewear” report is based on an independent online survey of 4,536 adults in the UK and US who wear glasses or eyewear. It’s the largest study of its kind to look at the relationship between fit and buyer experience through the lens of the consumer, according to Fuel3D.

George Thaw, CEO of Fuel3D, said: “Buying eyewear should be easy and fun yet people struggle to find the right fit and don’t enjoy the experience. The eyewear industry is treating every face as the same size and shape, resulting in ill-fitting eyewear which is costing retailers, opticians and brands lost customers and sales. It’s time for a more personalised approach.”

Despite eyewear’s increasing prominence in fashion, when buying glasses or sunglasses, fit is the most important factor. Forty-four percent of respondents said they prioritize fit, while 33% prioritize price and 23% prioritize style.

Fit impacts brand choice and how people shop. The study shows that more than a third (37%) of people always seek out the same styles or brand, yet 88% would happily try something different if they could find the right fit. Two-thirds of people would purchase eyewear more often if they were shown designs that actually fit their face, and 78% would buy their eyewear online instead if they could be guaranteed the perfect fit.

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Customers are faced with a bewildering choice of frames, both online and in-store, making it hard to find the perfect fit and style, Fuel3D noted. As a result, one in three adults (33%) don’t like visiting the optician or shopping for eyewear and one in five (20%) don’t like having to try on different frames, highlighting the need to improve the customer experience.

Fuel3D has developed FitsYou, a 3D capture and fitting platform that uses AR and AI to help ECPs and retailers  provide a personalized service through best-fit recommendations and fully customized eyewear, in-store and online.

Reflecting today’s “selfie-culture” the study shows that 77% of people are comfortable with the concept of a personal 3D facial scan to deliver a more accurate and better fitting experience.

Karl Turley, chief marketing officer of Fuel3D, said: “People are crying out for a better fit and a better buying experience. FitsYou delivers perfectly measured 3D fitting, personalises the selection of glasses, guarantees the perfect fit, encourages customer loyalty and gives opticians and retailers a compelling competitive advantage in a retail landscape where the new size is custom.”

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Safilo Group Acquires 70% of Blenders Eyewear

Chase Fisher will remain as CEO of Blenders.

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Safilo Group announced the acquisition of a 70 percent stake in the equity of California-based Blenders Eyewear LLC.

Safilo purchased the stake from Chase Fisher, the company’s founding entrepreneur and full owner.

Launched in San Diego, Blenders Eyewear “has built an advanced e-commerce platform with unique digital and social media skills, which has achieved fast and profitable growth thanks to its world-class digital capabilities,” according to a press release. The company generates about 95 percent of its business through its proprietary direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform, more recently complemented by the opening of the first Blenders flagship store in San Diego.

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Blenders Eyewear’s products “are inspired by the California active and progressive lifestyle and offer a compelling price-to-value eyewear proposition, particularly appealing to a broad range of consumers with a focus on Millennials and Generation Z, both female and male,” according to the release.

The brand has fueled its growth through highly social marketing strategies, partnering with influencers, athletes, and lifestyle enthusiasts and arranging product collaborations.

In 2019 the company expects to reach profitable net sales of approximately $42 million, all generated in the U.S. and up around 40 percent compared to the previous year.

Angelo Trocchia, Safilo’s CEO, said: “We are thrilled to welcome to Safilo an inspiring brand like Blenders Eyewear, a fast-growing e-commerce-powered business at the forefront of the latest direct to consumer and omni-channel capabilities, which will enrich our proprietary portfolio with new strong skills and a particular focus on our key US market.”

Chase Fisher, founder and CEO of Blenders Eyewear, said: “This marks a huge step forward for Blenders and we’re excited to be part of Safilo to reach a wider marketplace. Safilo’s product know-how and global distribution capabilities are the perfect complement to our digitally native business model, opening up worldwide expansion potential. We’re on a mission to build a thriving global community that inspires people to live in forward motion.”

Safilo acquired the 70 percent controlling interest in the company, based on a total value on a cash and debt free basis  equal to $90 million. The cash consideration to be paid at closing is subject to customary price adjustments.

Fisher will retain full ownership of 30 percent of the shares and will remain CEO of Blenders Eyewear, which will continue to run out of its San Diego home.

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Sunglass Maker to Cut 295 Jobs and Close Most of Its Daytona Beach Operations

It’s being integrated into the Luxottica profile.

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Sunglass maker Costa Del Mar plans to close most of its operations in Daytona Beach, FL, with 295 jobs to be cut in the process.

The first job eliminations are set to take place on Feb. 7, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Costa employs 350 people in Daytona Beach currently.

In a letter to state, county and city officials, the company cited “changing business needs” as the reason for its decisions.

“Certain sales and marketing functions” will remain in Daytona Beach, the newspaper reports, quoting the latter.

The layoffs will continue through the end of September.

WESH-TV reports that jobs are being moved to New York and California.

Costa was acquired by Essilor in 2014. Last year, Essilor merged with Luxottica, with the combined company being called EssilorLuxottica.

According to WESH, the company said that Costa is “an incredibly special and unique brand” and that “we see great growth potential for it in the future.”

“EssilorLuxottica’s decision to integrate Costa into the Luxottica profile will allow the brand to fully leverage on Luxottica’s strengths in everything from product innovation to manufacturing to supply chain to distribution networks, helping it reach its full potential,” the company said in the statement.

Read more at the Daytona Beach News-Journal

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Kim Kardashian Eyewear Deal to End Early Amid Disappointing Sales

The U.S. launch was a flop.

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A an agreement under which reality TV and social media star Kim Kardashian West promotes an eyewear brand is likely to end prematurely, Israeli news site Haaretz reports.

Kardashian has a two-year deal with apparel retailer Castro to tout Carolina Lemke eyewear. But discussions are underway for the deal to be cut off at the halfway point because of sluggish sales, according to Haaretz.

Kardashian was hired to boost the brand’s U.S. launch in the second quarter of 2019. Kardashian’s deal included a $6 million deal and an ownership share in Carolina Lemke USA.

But the launch was a flop, Haaretz reports. The company reportedly sold only $1 million worth of the eyewear and returned 300,000 pairs to Israel.

Castro released a statement saying: “The company’s Carolina Lemke Limited subsidiary and Ms. Kim Kardashian West are together exploring the option of adjusting the contract terms with Kim Kardashian West and the company she controls, including the matter of the period Kim Kardashian West provides her services.”

Read more at Haaretz

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