So I caught most of this last night. Kinda blew my mind a little bit. I've been wearing glasses since I was 15 and always thought there was some competition in the marketplace. Well not really.
Luxottica( Italian Company), aside from prescription lens, owns virtualy everything Eyewear. They make Glasses for Dolce Gabbana, Prada, Chanel..etc...
Link To 60 minutes story
Some text from the story(Link)
Quote:Luxottica is the biggest eyewear company on earth. It shuns publicity, but CEO Andrea Guerra invited us in for a look. And it was eye-opening.
Last year, Luxottica made some 65 million pairs of sunglasses and optical frames. They don't make prescription lenses
The company raked in $8 billion last year. But their best seller wasn't a fancy fashion house label. It was a brand they outright own: Ray-Ban. - today those $29 pairs can cost 150 and more, and Ray-Ban is the top-selling sunglass brand in the world.
...Which is all the more surprising since Luxottica not only bought Ray-Ban, they also bought LensCrafters, the largest eyewear retail chain in North America. So now they make 'em and they sell 'em. It's great for business, but is it great for the consumer?I asked LensCrafters' president Mark Weikel.
Lesley Stahl: How many non-Luxottica brands do you sell here?
Mark Weikel: We probably have a few brands that aren't Luxottica.
Lesley Stahl: So since Luxottica owns you, does the consumer get a break on glasses made by them in LensCrafters?
Mark Weikel: What the customer gets at LensCrafters is a variety of services and products, including this broad assortment of frames––
Lesley Stahl: Mark, you're not answering my question. I'm asking if you charge less for frames made by Luxottica since you're the same company.
Mark Weikel: I think every competitor, every retail optical brand, determines what their pricing is on whatever their brands are.
thats a no
Consumers do not get a break. At LensCrafters, the average cost for a pair of frames and lenses is about $300. You may think –– well, there's choice in the mall for other glasses. But Luxottica doesn't only own the top eyewear chain in the country, it owns another large chain: Pearle Vision, and Oliver Peoples, and several boutique chains. And it runs Target Optical and Sears Optical. And we're not done, Luxottica also owns Sunglass Hut - the largest sunglass chain in the world.
Consider what happened to Oakley, the world-famous maker of advanced sports eyewear.
Brett Arends: Oakley was a big competitor. And they had a fight with Luxottica. And Luxottica basically said, "We're dropping you from our stores." And Oakley––
Lesley Stahl: They refused to sell their glasses in their stores.
Brett Arends: Yeah, there was a dispute about pricing, and they dropped Oakley from the stores, and Oakley's stock price collapsed. How is Oakley going to reach the consumer if they can't get their sunglasses in Sunglass Hut?
Andrea Guerra: There were some issues between the two companies in the beginning of the 2000s. But both of them understood that it was better to go along.
Lesley Stahl: Better to let you buy them?
Andrea Guerra: I wouldn't say this. We merged with Oakley in 2007.
Lesley Stahl: You bought Oakley. They tried to compete and they lost and then you bought them.
So now Luxottica owns the two top premium sunglass brands in the world, Ray-Ban and Oakley.
Lesley Stahl: Who's your biggest competitor in the United States?
Andrea Guerra: You could say Walmart.
Also Costco and emerging on-line companies like Warby Parker. But other competitors told us Luxottica has them in a chokehold: if you make glasses, you want to be in their stores; and if you have stores, you want to sell Ray-Bans! So Luxottica can set the prices as high as it wants.
You'd think well, surely insurance companies covering vision would complain. But guess what? Luxottica also owns the nation's second largest vision-care plan: EyeMed, covering eye exams and glasses.