Belfast Telegraph

Tesco sells in-store opticians to Vision Express

Supermarket Tesco is eyeing its latest overhaul move after agreeing a deal to sell its network of more than 200 in-store opticians to Vision Express.

Vision Express will continue to run the opticians based in 206 Tesco stores across the UK and three in Ireland and pledged to retain all of the workforce of around 1,500 staff.

It comes as Tesco continues a turnaround plan led by boss Dave Lewis, which has seen the group offload a range of businesses.

Tesco's UK and Ireland chief executive, Matt Davies, said the deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, "allows us to further simplify and strengthen our UK business".

He added: "Our priority now is to work with our colleagues and support them through this change."

Vision Express, which is owned by global group GrandVision, said the acquisition will boost its chain to 598 in the UK and Ireland.

The deal is expected to complete later this year, but still needs to be given the green light by competition authorities.

The Tesco Opticians network makes around £90 million a year in sales and has been run by Tesco for the past 18 years.

Vision Express chief executive Jonathan Lawson said: "This is a really exciting time for Vision Express and provides us with the opportunity to invest in the future of the nation's eye health by extending our reach even further across the UK.

"We extend a very warm welcome to all Tesco Optician colleagues and customers, and together will ensure we continue to provide them with eye health expertise that is second to none."

Tesco has been leading a drive for leaner operations, selling off businesses including its restaurant chain Giraffe, Dobbies Garden Centres and music and and video streaming service Blinkbox.

But it is also looking to expand in targeted areas, having recently announced a £3.7 billion merger with wholesale giant Booker.

Tesco opened its first opticians in Peterborough in 1998, expanding the network to 100 in 2008 and more than doubling the chain since then.

The opticians arm also has an online operation, which will be taken over by Vision Express.

Vision Express currently has 389 stores in the UK and around 4,500 staff.

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