Specsavers put into family trust to protect future
Eyewear specialist retailer and optician Specsavers has been placed into a family trust so that the Guernsey-based business cannot be sold to private equity.
Co-founder Dame Mary Perkins, who sits on the executive board with her husband Doug, told The Times newspaper the trust had been set up as a cautionary measure, given the couple’s age (they are 78 and 79 respectively).
“We are coming up to our 80th birthdays so we have to be sensible and think about how we want it to progress after we have gone,” she said. “It is not going to get sold to some private equity firm when we pop our clogs, which I don’t intend doing for a long time.”
John Perkins, the couple’s son, is chief executive and daughters Julie and Cathryn have held senior roles, while two of her seven grandchildren already work for the company. She has told them she wants Specsavers to “go on and on forever”.
Mary and Doug Perkins set up the chain of opticians in the mid-1980s from the Channel Islands. Since then, it has grown into a major international business. As well as retailing a wide range of fashion brand optical frames and sunglasses, it employs 42,000 people worldwide, predominantly in its 2,300 mostly-franchise stores.
Known for its 'should have gone to Specsavers' tag line, last year, a lot of people did. The company sold 22 million pairs of glasses, alongside half a million hearing aids, helping it generate sales of £3.4 billion and profits of £446 million.
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