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DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES/
TSX Symbol: COA
VANCOUVER, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - Coastal Contacts Inc. (TSX: COA) announced
today that it has launched a new eyeglasses business unit in North America and
Europe, following the results of a successful pilot program during the past
60 day period.
The pilot program consisted of a marketing promotion to a representative
subset of existing Coastal contact lens customers in North America and Europe,
to gauge the acceptance of a direct-to-consumer eyeglasses offering. The test
utilized both in-house and third party eyeglass manufacturing resources.
During the test period more than 1000 pairs of eyeglasses were ordered and
delivered to customers in a timely fashion. Customer data and feedback was
then analyzed to enhance the offering and service model.
"The results of our pilot program were encouraging," stated Roger Hardy,
Coastal's President and CEO. "Customers were very receptive to the opportunity
of buying high quality eyeglasses at an affordable price, with seamless
delivery and service. We learned a great deal during the test and have
implemented that intelligence in the eyeglasses offering that we will be
rolling out to our existing 1.5 million active customers and potential new
customers around the world".
Hardy continued "One of our key initiatives is to add vision care
products to our offering which further provide our customers with convenience
and savings. Eyeglasses can be a costly item for most consumers, as
traditional channels must build in significant costs, such as expensive retail
space. In conducting our research we were surprised to learn that we could
typically offer consumers savings of 50% or more on eyeglasses while
generating strong gross margins. We have demonstrated the ability to
disintermediate the contact lens industry successfully and now plan to apply
our experience to eyeglasses as there are many parallels between the two
Market research estimates that the global market for contact lenses is
US$4.8 billion annually. Coastal estimates that approximately 10% of the
global market currently purchase their contact lenses on a direct-to-consumer
basis. The addressable eyeglass industry is estimated at over $34 billion
annually and the proportion currently sold through the direct-to-consumer
channel is estimated to be less than 1%.
About Coastal Contacts:
Coastal Contacts is one of the world's fastest-growing vision care
suppliers. Leveraging its world class operations in North America, Europe and
Asia, Coastal is building a predictable recurring revenue stream in the
contact lens segment and is developing complementary branded vision care
products. Already No. 1 in many of its markets, Coastal is rapidly advancing
toward its goal of becoming the "World's Online Optical Store."
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements that
reflect the current views and/or expectations of Coastal Contacts Inc. with
respect to its performance, business and future events. Investors are
cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties
including, without limitation, those relating to changes in the market,
potential downturns in economic conditions, limited suppliers, inventory risk,
disruption in our distribution facilities, foreign exchange fluctuations,
regulatory requirements, demand for contact lenses, changes in business
strategy, competition and dependence on the internet. These risks, as well as
others, could cause actual results and events to vary significantly. Coastal
Contacts does not undertake any obligations to release publicly any revisions
for updating any voluntary forward-looking statements.
For further information:
For further information: Terry Vanderkruyk, Vice President, Corporate
Development, Coastal Contacts Inc., (604) 676-4498,