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VSP to Open 3 Brick-and-Mortar Stores

The company will also launch a ‘doctor-centric alternative to private equity.’

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Global announced that it plans to open three brick-and-mortar Eyeconic locations and launch of VSP Ventures, a business unit designed to offer “a care-focused choice for doctors looking to transition their practices.”

“Benefits managers are demanding more substantial retail options and doctors have been asking VSP to create a doctor-centric alternative to private equity. It’s critical for VSP to ensure this evolving landscape serves both our members and VSP network doctors in mutually beneficial ways,” said Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “A well-defined network strategy, which includes retail, allows us to provide a variety of options for doctors at every career stage and in every kind of practice setting — from privately owned, to dispensary-managed, to VSP-owned and operated.”

VSP Ventures “will facilitate practice transitions for doctors looking to retire or evolve to a different model,” according to a press release. The company said additional details will be announced soon.

The three Eyeconic stores will open in the Chicago market throughout 2019. The stores will be an extension of VSP’s ecommerce site, eyeconic.com.

“In collaboration with our innovation lab, The Shop, we’ve identified a unique, uncommitted customer who seeks a differentiated eye care and eyewear-buying experience,” said Bill Vaughan, president of VSP Retail. “In partnership with a Doctor of Optometry, Eyeconic is well-positioned to meet changing customer requirements by creating a digital and physical brand environment based on personalization, choice, and well-being.”

Each store will be wholly owned and operated by VSP with a sublease model for VSP network doctors.

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Market selection was “strategically focused on regions that have shown high numbers of out-of-network claims at optical chains and mass retailers,” according to the release.

“Our goal is to create more opportunities for doctors,” said Guyette. “Without a strategic retail footprint, we risk closing the door on key clients, as well as the 20 percent of consumers who are choosing retail and even online-based eyewear stores over private practice. This is about smart growth that allows VSP to win more contracts and, in turn, more patients to drive into Premier Program practices.”

Details and exact locations of the Eyeconic concept stores will be announced in the coming months, the company stated.

“As a doctor-governed organization, VSP is continually looking for ways to advantage doctors in the decisions we make and this comprehensive retail strategy is no exception,” said Gordon Jennings, OD, VSP Global board chairman. “This is about growth that helps doctors achieve long-term success, while allowing VSP to fulfill its mission of providing access to quality eye care and eyewear to as many people as possible.”

More information is available at www.JustTheFactsVSP.com.

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VSP Global Enters Brick-and-Mortar with 2 Stores

They’re located in Chicago.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Global enters brick-and-mortar retail with the opening of its first two Eyeconic stores in the country.

The stores are located in Chicago. They will serve as an extension of VSP’s ecommerce site, “connecting products, services and a VSP network doctor to retail-minded consumers who are looking for experiences that bridge the divide between digital and physical,” according to a press release.

“We are thrilled to bring the very first Eyeconic stores to Chicago and offer customers a differentiated eye care and eyewear experience,” said Bill Vaughan, president of VSP Retail. “Transparent prices and seamless digital and physical retail access are the cornerstones of our brand. And in partnership with a Doctor of Optometry, we now offer comprehensive eye exams using state-of-the-art technology to ensure eye health and wellness remains the focal point of our customer journey.”

As previously announced, VSP chose to launch the Eyeconic stores in Chicago “based on higher out-of-network claims the company was seeing at optical chains and mass retailers in the city.” VSP Vision Care is the nation’s largest not-for-profit vision benefits company and covers one in four people in the U.S., the release explains.

The first store, located at 1647 North Damen Ave., opened to the public on June 15 and will host a grand opening celebration on June 29. The second store, located at 916 W. Randolph St., will open to the public on July 13 and host a grand opening celebration on July 27.

“A strategic, wholly owned retail footprint helps meet client expectations and contributes to a healthy and competitive network,” said Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “By reducing out-of-network leakage, we also ensure members in Chicago are getting the most value out of their benefits — particularly those who fall into the 20 percent of consumers who prefer mass retail and online-based eyewear stores over private practice. This also opens new employment opportunities for VSP network doctors who desire to practice full-scope optometry in a retail setting.”

Each Eyeconic store will feature a selection of about 500 men’s, women’s and kids’ frames from over 30 brands. The stores will also offer all major brands of contact lenses.
Patients can schedule eye exams online and browse eyewear before coming in to see a VSP network doctor.

“As we conducted research, we identified a unique, uncommitted consumer who is looking for simplified shopping, transparency and convenience when it comes to their eye care and eyewear-buying experience,” said Vaughan. “We are building the Eyeconic brand to meet the needs of discerning customers. That includes many residents in Chicago’s dense urban market of about 2.7 million people, where over 400,000 VSP members live and work today.”

Eyeconic stores are considered in network for most VSP, Cigna and MetLife members. Eyeconic also accepts private pay and most other vision insurance plans as an out-of-network option.

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Allergan to Be Acquired in $63M Deal

It will be a ‘transformational transaction for both companies.’

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NORTH CHICAGO, IL, and DUBLIN — AbbVie Inc. plans to acquire Allergan plc, whose products include eyecare drugs, in a $63 million deal, the companies announced.

“This is a transformational transaction for both companies and achieves unique and complementary strategic objectives,” said Richard A. Gonzalez, chairman and CEO of AbbVie. “The combination of AbbVie and Allergan increases our ability to continue to deliver on our mission to patients and shareholders.

“With our enhanced growth platform to fuel industry-leading growth, this strategy allows us to diversify AbbVie’s business while sustaining our focus on innovative science and the advancement of our industry-leading pipeline well into the future.”

Brent Saunders, chairman and CEO of Allergan, said, “With 2019 annual combined revenue of approximately $48 billion, scale in more than 175 countries, an industry-leading R&D pipeline and robust cash flows, our combined company will have the opportunity to make even bigger contributions to global health than either can alone. Our fast-growing therapeutic areas, including our world class medical aesthetics, eye care, CNS and gastrointestinal businesses, will enhance AbbVie’s strong growth platform and create substantial value for shareholders of both companies.”

Under terms of the deal, Allergan shareholders will receive 0.8660 AbbVie shares and $120.30 in cash for each Allergan share that they hold, for a total consideration of $188.24 per Allergan share. The transaction represents a 45% premium to the closing price of Allergan’s shares on June 24.

The transaction is subject to conditions including certain regulatory approvals and approval by Allergan’s shareholders.

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Optical Company to Close Its Doors

It’s the “only remaining manufacturer of glass lenses and polarized glass lenses in the USA.”

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Sauk Rapids, MN-based X-Cel Optical is closing its doors.

The Sauk Rapids facility will shut down permanently in June 2020, WJON-AM reports.

The operation, part of Essilor of America, primarily manufactures bifocals, trifocals and glass lenses. A company spokeswoman told WJON that decreased demand for those products is a factor in the closure.

The facility has 125 full-time employees, all of whom will be affected. But WJON reports that they will be able to move into jobs at other Essilor-owned facilities in the region if they wish.

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Todd Schultz, community development director for Sauk Rapids, told the news outlet that the company plans to move the operations to locations outside the U.S.

Founded in Detroit in 1937, X-Cel Optical is “the only remaining manufacturer of glass lenses and polarized glass lenses in the USA,” according to its website.

Read more at WJON-AM

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