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Opticians eyes expansion and buys outlets in Montrose and Stonehaven

Duncan and Todd Group managing director Frances Rus, who joined the company as a trainee in the 1980s.
Duncan and Todd Group managing director Frances Rus, who joined the company as a trainee in the 1980s.

A growing opticians chain has added two stores and 13 new members of staff with the acquisition of a rival business.

Aberdeen-based Duncan and Todd has taken over branches of the Spectacle Company in Stonehaven and Montrose, taking the number of outlets it operates across Scotland to 43.

The firm did not disclose the value of the deal.

The Spectacle Company practice on Montrose’s High Street will continue to operate as usual, while the existing Duncan and Todd branch on Market Square in Stonehaven has moved to the larger Spectacle Company premises on Barclay Street.

Duncan and Todd Group has acquired the Spectacle Company, including its branch  Stonehaven branch.

Both will now trade as Duncan and Todd.

Directors of the Spectacle Company, Graeme and Anne Shand, are to retire.

The Aberdeen headquartered group has also taken on patients registered at Gibson Opticians on Rosemount Viaduct in Aberdeen, which has closed due to retirement.

The deal marks a return to growth for the acquisitive opticians and audiology business.

In 2018 the group was backed with a £15 million investment deal from private equity firm LDC with the aim to grow Scotland’s largest privately-owned optician and hearing care provider.

Great fit for glasses firm

Duncan and Todd Group managing director Frances Rus, who joined the company as a trainee in the 1980s, said: “We are pleased to have added the Spectacle Company to our family of opticians.

From left to right) Kirsten Innes (dispenser); Lisa Wallace (optometrist); Karen McFarland (dispenser); and Heather Hope (manager/DO) in Stonehaven.

“As a fellow long-established independent optometrist who is committed to providing a high quality and personal service to its local communities, it was a great fit for us.

“We are continuing to grow the Duncan and Todd Group as we add to our portfolio of branches and move into new areas.

“This acquisition allows us to expand into Montrose, which is a new location for us but complements our existing branches in Arbroath and Forfar.”

Anne Shand, 58, said she was happy to see the long-established business remain in local hands.

“It is great to know that both our patients and staff will benefit from the ethos of an independent optician, caring for our patients in the same way we have for the last 26 years in Montrose and 23 in Stonehaven,” she said.

“With a proven track record and established roots in north-east Scotland, we are happy for our business to still be ‘local’. Our long-standing members of staff, many with more than 10 years’ experience, will be a valuable asset to the new owners.”

Vision for expansion

The acquisition of nine practices from Black & Lizars in April 2019 bolstered Duncan and Todd’s reach across Scotland, from the Borders and central belt to the Highlands and Islands.

Duncan and Todd also trades as 20 20 Opticians south of Tayside, as well as retaining names which are well known locally, such as JM MacDonald in the Highlands.

The group has invested in hearing care and now offers this service across Scotland, with free hearing tests and supply, fitting and tuning of a comprehensive range of hearing aids.

As well as Caledonian Optical, its own dedicated lens manufacturing facility, the group also operates Smart Employee Eyecare (SEE), a corporate eye care offering which provides a simple web-based service to satisfy a company’s legal HSE compliance requirements for employees’ eye care to large public and private sector clients.

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