Coastal Contacts pioneers "social shopping" for eyeglasses


    TSX Symbol: COA

    VANCOUVER, May 14 /CNW/ - Coastal Contacts Inc. (TSX: COA) announced
today that it has launched an industry leading "social shopping" Virtual
Mirror which will revolutionize the way consumers shop for eyeglasses on the
    Two months ago, Coastal launched its proprietary Virtual Mirror which
allows consumers to upload a digital photo and "virtually" try on hundreds of
eyeglasses styles. The tool has proven to be popular as more than 50,000
customers have uploaded their photos to date, many of whom have used the tool
to purchase prescription eyeglasses from Coastal.
    Coastal is now set to launch a second generation Virtual Mirror, the
first of its kind in the optical industry. This tool will allow consumers to
upload their photo, try on hundreds of eyeglasses styles and share the images
with their friends using Facebook, Twitter, blogs or emails to solicit the
opinions of their friends and family.
    "Our experience since launching our direct to consumer eyeglasses
business a year ago is that customers often want affirmation of their product
choice to make a final decision," stated Roger Hardy, Coastal's founder and
CEO. "This "Social Shopping" tool along with Coastal's "Invoice Me Later"
program and "No-Hassle" returns policy will both reinforce individual product
decisions and create a wave of awareness among the users of the social
networking community users. Facebook alone has more than 200 million users
world wide comprised of Internet savvy consumers seeking innovative products
and services.
    We continue to view the eyeglasses market as a huge opportunity given the
disparity between the declining cost of manufacturing eyeglasses in the last
ten years and the fact that retail optical store prices have remained the same
or risen in the same time period. Coastal is well positioned to take a
leadership position in the direct to consumer eyeglasses market based on our
global experience in the contact lens industry and the fact that we are
starting with a base of approximately two million vision corrected customers
in our system.
    With Coastal's eyeglasses starting at just $38 and with more than 400
styles to choose from in both branded and private label frames, we are
redefining the eyeglasses marketplace. Many of our customers are now
eyeglasses collectors, as they can now afford to own several pairs and view
them as a fashion accessory."

    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 Vision 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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