New Look Vision Group Reports Q1 Sales Increase and Launches ‘Pilot Project’ in Hearing Care

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MONTREAL—New Look Vision Group Inc. (TSX: BCI), a leader in the Canadian retail optical industry with 379 stores across Canada, reported late last week that its first quarter revenue increased 2.4 percent over last year to $71.5 million. Comparable-store sales orders rose 2.6 percent compared with the first quarter of last year, marking the 19th consecutive quarter of comparable-store sales growth, the announcement noted. New Look also said its adjusted EBITDA in the quarter ended March 30 totaled $11.6 million, an increase of 2.3 percent over last year. Net earnings attributable to shareholders reached $2.1 million, compared with $2.2 million last year, with the decrease being “mainly attributable to higher financial expenses, caused principally by a significant change in the fair value of an interest rate swap, partially offset by higher EBITDA,” the announcement noted.

"In [the first quarter], New Look Vision Group delivered its 19th consecutive quarter of comparable-store sales growth and record free cash flow,” president and chief executive officer Antoine Amiel said in the announcement. “The prior year's debt deleveraging momentum carried into the first quarter of this year, positioning the company to resume consolidating the fragmented Canadian retail optical market, with eight stores acquired since the beginning of the year.”

Separately last week, New Look reported that it has entered into agreements to launch hearing care initiatives on a pilot project basis in some retail optical locations in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. In Quebec, beginning in this month, services offered will include hearing screening and full professional auditory services provided by the audiologists of Polyclinique de l’oreille, and complete hearing aid services provided by Le Groupe Forget, audio prosthetists, both managed by Les services de Location Hearing Care of America (“SLHCA”). Avenir Hearing will provide the services outside of Quebec, commencing in June.

“Hearing care has been a longtime endeavor of New Look Vision’s based on successful precedents, particularly in Europe,” Amiel explained. “The patient demographics and journey is strikingly similar to eyecare. It is a natural extension of the services we can deliver in our existing stores. Our chosen partners share our values and outlook. Everyone at New Look Vision is very much looking forward to working and learning with them.”