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This may be slightly off-topic from my normal topics, but I found this story fascinating.

I happened to catch 60 Minutes report on global eyewear company Luxottica and its near total domination of the global market for eyewear – prescription glasses and sunglasses. The story, as well as Luxottica's global domination, is remarkable.

Luxottica manufactures glasses – the company says half-a-billion people are wearing its products. It makes eyewear for top luxury designers – Vogue, Chanel, Coach, Polo, Versace, and Tiffany – to name a few. The company also outright owns popular sunglass brands including Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Oliver Peoples.

In addition to making the glasses, Luxottica also owns nearly every major retail outlet that sells eyewear. The company owns prescription eyewear chains LensCrafters and Pearl Vision. It also runs Target Optical and Sears Optical. Luxottica also owns Sunglass Hut – the world's largest sunglass chain.

Luxottica's domination and carefully crafted illusion of competition has cemented its role as "price maker". Luxottica can set the price it wants and others will simply follow in its wake. This lack of competition results in routinely pricing for $200 or more glasses that cost less than $30 to make.

You would think that vision insurance companies would complain about Luxottica's price dominance. Except Luxottica owns the 2nd largest vision care plan in the US, EyeMed, which covers eye exams and glasses.

(c) Copyright 2012 Brett A. Emison

Follow @BrettEmison on Twitter.

2 Comments

  1. Gravatar for dan

    i own a few retial optical stores frensice in ny and luxotica is monopolizing this industry and getting away with being the only manufactory for prada ray ban oakley tifany and many more and we as a optical retail stores have to compete with the manufacture which is luxotica retial stores this is not illegal? conflict of interest? as well as eyemed insurance company which is the #2 larges insurance company that luxotica own as well and luxotica chose which plan to add other providers like my self in the panel and keep a lot of plans that people can only go to their retail stores (lencrafters ,pearl vision, sears ,jc penny ,and many more is this legal can we all do some thing about this beforee its to late class action sue?

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