Duncan and Todd Group have a clear vision of continued growth

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DUNCAN and Todd Group has announced positive results for the year ending 31 March 2019, reflecting its continued growth throughout Scotland.

Following a number of acquisitions, the group is now the largest privately-owned optician and hearing care chain in Scotland.

Turnover at the Aberdeen headquartered group increased by 15% from £17million in the previous financial year, to £19million this year, with operating profits of £468,000 for the year, up from a small loss of £74,000 in 2018.

In March 2018, Duncan and Todd secured a £15million investment from LDC, the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investor, to expand its Scottish retail presence.    

The last year has seen the acquisition of seven practices, with the acquisition of a further nine practices from Black & Lizars in April 2019 bringing the total to 41 across Scotland, from the Borders and central belt to the Highlands and Islands.

The accounts show almost £1million has also been invested in store refits to align the look and feel of the acquired practices with the Duncan and Todd brand.

The group has been developing a full hearing care service over the last 24 months and now offers this across Scotland, with free hearing tests and supply, fitting and tuning of a comprehensive range of hearing aids, including near-invisible digital hearing aids.

The group also saw a further 11% growth from Caledonian Optical, its dedicated lens manufacturing facility. This produces a wide range of spectacle lenses both for the group’s own branches and increasingly for third party opticians, mostly in England and Wales.

An industry accreditation from the Optician Awards for a high specification lens, secured despite competition from its global peers, also helped to fuel this growth.

Managing director Frances Rus said the strong financial results paved the way for continued growth and increased profits.

“We have seen a strong start to the current financial year, despite the difficulties in the retail sector, and we are ahead of the same period in the previous year so we’re on track to achieve a significant increase in profitability in the coming year,” she said.

“It’s pleasing to see that our focus on customer service both in our clinical services and in the wide range of spectacle frames and lens that we offer, and the time we are prepared to spend with patients to get the right outcome is well received by our existing and potential patients.”

Colin Bennet, Investment Director at LDC in Scotland, added: “Expanding the group’s Scottish retail footprint was quickly identified as a key growth objective for the business when we partnered with Frances and her team last year.

“Since then, we have supported Duncan and Todd to realise this ambition through an acquisitive programme of growth. It’s very rewarding to see the firm’s latest financial results reflect the success of this strategy and its new position as the largest independent optical group in Scotland.”

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

Duncan and Todd 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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