Seeing is believing and business for Essilor of America. The company makes and distributes optical lenses under the Airwear, Crizal, DEFINITY, Transitions, and Varilux brands, to name a few. Its Essilor Laboratories of America business, a wholesale laboratory network, provides services and a variety of lens brands to opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists across the US. Essilor of America is a subsidiary of multibillion-dollar Paris-based Essilor International, which operates 310-plus laboratories that make corrective lenses worldwide. In recent years, Essilor International has improved the America's product mix and presence through acquisitions of labs and independent optometrists, and optical chains.
Essilor of America's operations consist of 128 prescription laboratories, four manufacturing facilities, two distribution centers, and one research and development center. The company's subsidiary Essilor Labs is reportedly the largest wholesale laboratory network in the US.
Essilor of America's business reaches across North America. In 2011, North America represented more than one-third of its parent company's revenue. Acquisitions, such as Signet Armorlite (2010), are a key driver of Essilor of America's footprint and portfolio. California-based Signet holds the worldwide license for the development, production, and distribution of Kodak-brand lenses. Other deals in 2011 added California-based CSC Laboratories and Virginia-based Professional Ophthalmic Laboratories. In Canada, the company acquired Fundi Vision Optical Laboratory.
In 2011 the North American region posted nearly a 4% increase in sales over the prior year. Despite by mixed sales in Canada, results were buoyed by the addition of three new partners that strengthen Essilor of America's prescription laboratory network. The company also secured new supply contracts with lens distributors for variable-tint and polarized lenses, and high-index and polycarbanate lens.
In addition to acquisitions and new partnerships, the North American optical lens maker's growth strategy focuses on breakthrough products. With Visioffice, released summer 2011, eyeglass customers have their glasses fitted for measurement by looking into a camera. The Visioffice equipment takes a picture of the face and records 3-D facial measurements for the retailer to size lenses and for the customer to select eyeglass frames. The Visioffice product has been shipped to thousands of eyeglass retailers. – less