Meet John Perkins, Specsavers CEO

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Next up in our ‘Meet the CEO’ series is John Perkins, the highly successful businessman who is also the Specsavers CEO.

Specsavers is the leading optical business in the UK, but who is the man leading the brand to success? Let’s find out.

Who is Specsavers CEO, John Perkins?

There are three people at the heart of Specsavers; Doug and Mary Perkins and their son, John. Doug Perkins and his wife, Mary, founded Specsavers in 1984, after deciding to create a business that offered affordable eyecare in the UK. Doug Perkins is presented as the leading figure on the Specsavers board, serving as the business’ Joint Group CEO and Co-Founder. He has the most experience out of the three, having been a qualified and registered optometrist for over half a century.

In 1998, Doug and Mary’s son, John, stepped on board the Specsavers ship. During his initial years with the company, John worked in several UK stores and alongside international Specsavers teams. He joined his parents on the company’s board in 2003 and now serves as Joint Group CEO with his father. This means that he takes control of the strategic direction of the business. Before joining the brand, he worked as an Audit Manager at Deloitte.

Dame Mary Perkins is officially listed as the business’ Co-Founder. She earned her damehood in 2007 as a result of her involvement in several local and national charities, whilst remaining dedicated to the objectives of the family’s business. Mary focusses on a few key elements of the Specsavers model, maintaining customer service standards and corporate responsibility commitments, as well as promoting the business’ values.

What is Specsavers?

Utter the word “Specsavers” and most people will know what you’re talking about. It is one of the most famous providers of optical and hearing care in the UK. However, it also has a strong presence worldwide; the brand boasts over 2,111 Specsavers stores in total, 816 of which are located within the UK and Ireland. Across the globe, Specsavers stores are staffed by over 37,000 employees who work to ensure that its customers can rely on the top-quality service that they are accustomed to. Last year, its overall global revenue was £2.78 billion, which was up six percent on 2017/18. The total UK revenue was £1.47 billion.

The story began in 1984, when the first Specsavers store opened its doors to the public in Bristol. In 1990, the brand’s famous 2-for-1 offer was first introduced, allowing customers to get more for their money compared to other optical stores. In 1997, Specsavers expanded to international territories; its first store outside of the UK was established in Haarlem in the Netherlands.

If you have heard of Specsavers, it’s likely you’ll be familiar with its celebrated strapline, “Should’ve gone to Specsavers”. This was thought up in 2003 and, since then, has been used to complement a variety of comical adverts. The business continued to grow over the years and, in 2008, it celebrated the launch of its 1,000th store.

Did you know? Specsavers' overall global revenue was £2.78 billion last year

Does Specsavers franchise?

Sadly, the answer is no, it does not. In fact, Specsavers is the world’s largest privately-owned optical group, with a presence in more than 10 countries. Specsavers uses a ‘joint venture partnership’ model, where two parties can agree to work together and share the costs, profits, associated risks and rewards from the business. You can find out more about becoming a partner, how much you need to invest and what you get in return in another one of our articles here.

Other franchise opportunites in the optical store industry

Although Specsavers does not operate a specific franchise model, there are a number of other opportunites out there. Let’s look at two of them in more detail.

Boots Opticians

Boots is one of the most recognisable brands in the country and the largest retail optical franchise in the UK. This gives it several advantages over competitors. Founded by John Boot in 1849, the Nottingham-based business grew slowly over the next century. By 1984, it had reached Peterborough, Leeds, Luton and Derby, and the business was bought out in 1987. Over the next three decades, Boots would expand across the country and become one of the country's best-loved brands.

  • Becoming a Boots Opticians franchisee: It’s looking for entrepreneurs who are business minded and eager to share their passion for the industry with the local community. Click here to get started.
  • How much you need to invest: You'll need to raise around £200,000. The franchise fee is set at £10,000 and is valid for a franchise term of 20 years. For the shop fitting, franchisees can expect to pay between £160,000 and £200,000, depending on the location and size of the store.
  • What you get for your investment: In return, franchisees will receive help with drafting their business plan, acquiring a property, fitting the shop and selecting products. All franchisees are provided with intensive training and receive the support of the experienced franchisor team throughout the set-up process.


Established in 1928, Leightons is a family business that has been passed on through the generations. Providing a fantastic customer experience is immensely important to this business, which believes that it is competent service and friendly interactions that keep its customers coming back time and time again. In 1997, Leightons introduced its franchise model, which has helped it expand to 34 different territories across the South of England.

  • Becoming a Leightons franchisee: If you are interested in joining the business, there are three different options for you to consider. You don’t have to become a franchisee; you could alternatively initiate a joint venture or a shared ownership agreement to start your own Leightons store. Click here to find out more.
  • How much you need to invest: If you opt to start a franchise with Leightons, you should be prepared to make a minimum investment of around £135,000. You will also need to pay franchise fees of £20,000 to cover everything from the use of Leightons’ business model and brand name, to training and ongoing guidance.
  • What you get for your investment: Of course, you should bear in mind that the investment requirements, contractual obligations and level of support on offer will differ slightly with each type of business partnership, but Leightons will always provide quality support in order to ensure the success of your business – and the reputation of the brand as a whole. You’ll receive training and support with sales, marketing and business operations.

Start your own opticians franchise

Franchising is a great way to be your own boss with the support and security of an established brand. We currently have one opticians franchise on our books, Leightons. At Point Franchise, we also have a wide range of other related articles – if you’re in the mood for some more reading, why not check out one from the list below?

>> Read more articles on the Optician sector

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