Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, has announced its plans to sell its optician business to Vision Express, as it prepares for a £3.7 billion Booker takeover. First established in Peterborough in 1999, the supermarket currently has a total of 206 optician practices throughout the UK.
It is expected that the sale will happen later this year, after it has been approved by the UK’s competition watchdog. This means Vision Express, owned by Grand Vision will have a total of 598 stores nationwide following the sale.
All its current 1,500 staff in the UK and Ireland are expected to get transferred to Vision Express.
Tesco’s UK & Ireland boss, Matt Davis, said the deal would “allows us to further simplify and strengthen our UK business and ensures our customers are still able to enjoy high quality eye care services from Vision Express in our larger stores”.
David Lewis who became Tesco’s new chief executive in 2014, has been taking strategies to focus on the company’s its core supermarket business and less on its non-core businesses.
Such examples of Tesco’s strategy of selling it sprawling interests, include the sale of its Giraffe restaurant chain, Harris & Hoole café, Dobbies garden centres and Tirkish Kipa chain, as well as its South Korean business.
In January the former Unilever executive announced a £3.7bn takeover of Booker. This has caused concern for two of Tesco’s biggest shareholders, Schroders and Artisan, who have put forward the argument that the Booker deal would be a risky move for the company’s recovery.