High street optician and eyewear retailer Optical Express has taken its &£3m advertising budget in-house, only nine months after appointing Leith Advertising.
Optical Express, based in Cumbernauld, Glasgow, was founded in 1992 and has more than 165 stores nationwide. Positioning itself as a rival to Boots and Specsavers, its services include cataract removal and walk-in laser-corrective surgery.
The company appointed Leith with a brief to focus on brand strategy development to help build the chain into a national brand (MW October 9, 2003). It undertook some regional television advertising earlier this year, but is now concentrating on tactical offers backed up with press and radio advertising. Media is handled by MediaVision Edinburgh.
Optical Express was founded by chief executive David Moulsdale and parent company DCM Holdings has been on an acquisition spree in the past two years. It bought laser eye-surgery specialist MaxiVision last May for &£2m and Newcastle-based Health Clinic out of administration for &£7.5m in October 2002.
However, in its last reported financial year, the private company said pre-tax profits had dropped to &£171,000, from &£1.8m in 2002 and &£3.4m in 2001.
Sales rose by seven per cent to &£48.9m over the same period. Moulsdale puts the slump down to the cost of integrating Health Clinic.