Coastal Contacts launches progressive lens eyeglasses


    TSX Symbol: COA

    VANCOUVER, May 4 /CNW/ - Coastal Contacts Inc. (TSX: COA) announced today
the addition of progressive lenses to its rapidly expanding eyeglasses product
offering. Also included in the product launch are Coastal subsidiaries in Canada and in Europe.
    Manufacturer's data regarding the United States market for prescription
eyeglasses indicates that progressive and continual focus lenses comprise
approximately 26% of the 75 million prescription eyeglasses sold annually.
Progressive and continual focus lenses are typically targeted to vision
corrected consumers over 40 years of age that are experiencing a common
condition called presbyopia. As people age, their eye changes shape, resulting
in a requirement for both near and distance correction in the same lens.
    "Our experience in the past 12 months, since launching single vision
eyeglasses, is that consumers are overwhelmingly positive about the
combination of value, quality and speed that we offer," stated Roger Hardy,
Coastal Contacts, Founder and CEO. "In a challenging economic time for
consumers, we are delighted to provide a legitimate alternative to purchasing
eyeglasses from an eye care practitioner or retail optical store where they
can often charge $300 or more for a pair of eyeglasses that we sell for prices
that start at $38. The model is working and we are committed to expanding the
offering in terms of both frame selection and lenses, such as progressives.
    We operate a business which is entirely driven by consumer demand in real
time, shortening the supply chain and eliminating the "middle man" wherever
possible. Since launching single vision glasses only a year ago, we have been
receiving an increasing number of enquiries asking when we are going to start
selling progressive lenses. It appears to be a particularly acute segment of
the market where consumers are fed up paying $800 to $1200 for a pair of
progressive eyeglasses, which we sell for prices that start at $137 for
conventional progressive lenses and range to a maximum of $199 for "free form"
technology. We have the ability to react to our customers and give them what
they want quickly, with the highest possible quality at an affordable price.
    Our market tests prior to launch give us absolute confidence in our
ability to provide progressive lenses that meet or exceed our customer's
expectations. Many customers during the test period have told us they are the
best progressive eyeglasses they have ever owned at any price."

    Coastal launched its eyeglasses business in February 2008 and has rapidly
become a leader in the direct to consumer eyeglasses channel passing savings
on to customers. Customers are delighted to have access to high quality
eyeglasses at previously unheard of prices.

    About Coastal Contacts:

    Coastal Contacts Inc. ( is the world's leading
direct-to-consumer vision products company which designs, produces and
distributes a diversified offering such as contact lenses and eyeglasses. The
Company's unique combination of branded and private label products represent
quality, value and above all, service. Coastal sells into more than 150
countries through proprietary web properties which reflect the culture and
consumer preference of the target market. As new markets for eyeglasses and
contact lenses evolve, the Company is positioned to become the vision product
consumer's retailer of choice owing to its unbeatable value proposition
combining value and service. Already No. 1 in many of its markets, Coastal is
rapidly advancing toward its goal of becoming the "World's 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, consumer credit risk, limited
suppliers, inventory risk, disruption in our distribution facilities, foreign
exchange fluctuations, changes in business strategy, regulatory requirements,
demand for contact lenses and other vision care products, competition,
dependence on the internet and other risks detailed in our filings with the
Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Reference should be made to the
section entitled "Risk Factors" contained in our most recently filed Annual
Information Form dated January 29, 2009 for a detailed description of the
risks and uncertainties relating to our business. These risks, as well as
others, could cause actual results and events to vary significantly.
Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking
statements and information, which are qualified in their entirety by this
cautionary statement. Except as required by applicable law, Coastal Contacts
does not undertake any obligations to release publicly any revisions for
updating any voluntary forward-looking statements.

    Neither the TSX nor any other regulatory body has reviewed and therefore
    does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this

For further information:

For further information: Terry Vanderkruyk, Vice President, Corporate
Development, Coastal Contacts Inc., (604) 676-4498,

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