German eyewear IPO flaunts digital vision

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Sunglasses from different brands are pictured in Hanau, Germany, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

MILAN, June 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Mister Spex is betting digitally savvy shoppers will support its far-sighted growth. The glasses retailer, which operates in 10 European countries, said on Monday it’s looking to list in Frankfurt later this year. The German group’s revenue grew 18% in 2020 to 164 million euros, bucking a 13% sector slide in Europe. Virtual mirrors and digital features that allow users to fit frames and prescription lenses remotely helped boost sales 27% in the first quarter.

Assuming Mister Spex can boost sales by about 25% a year, as it predicts, revenue would surpass 250 million euros in 2022. If valued at sector leader EssilorLuxottica’s (ESLX.PA) multiple of 3.7 times sales, it would command an enterprise value of nearly 1 billion euros. A dearth of listed eyewear companies and rising myopia among the population may entice investors. Yet as the $79 billion Franco-Italian giant prepares to bulk up its retail network through the acquisition of GrandVision (GVNV.AS), competition is intensifying. (By Lisa Jucca)

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