In a recent news release, VSP announced that they’re expanding their “affiliate program” begun with Costco last October. The new agreement is with HVHC’s 545-unit Eye Care Centers of America retail group.
Eye Care Centers of America, which operates stores across 39 states plus the District of Columbia, includes retail brands EyeMasters, Visionworks, Vision World, Dr. Bizer’s VisionWorld, Dr. Bizer’s ValuVision, Doctor’s ValuVision, Hour Eyes, Stein Optical, Eye DRx, and Binyon’s.
Oh…and by the way, the HVHC Vision Group also includes Davis Vision and Viva International Group.
In case you miss the nuance (kick in the head), please allow me to translate…VSP is doing a deal with one of their largest competitors both in vision plans and eyewear. Davis Vision is the third largest vision plan in the nation.
So, why would the largest vision plan provider do a deal with the third largest vision plan provider? Why not a deal with another retailer that doesn’t own vision plans or one of the largest frame companies in the world? Why do a deal with your direct competitor?
It appears clear to me. VSP has reported competitive and growth challenges. As I’ve said in the past…”if you can’t beat them, buy them out.” I predict that this is an engagement that will lead to marriage.