I predicted that this would happen. So far, in the NY Region, 4 Sears Opticals have cancelled their sublease ODs in the past month. This is the inevitable manifestation of a corporation that does not want to support the Sears Optical brand properly.
There are many reasons for this, many of which have been discussed previously.
1. Reduction in payroll hours, therefore leading to the reduction in staff availability to assist the sublease OD. 2. Loss of most forms of effective advertising. 3. Increase in prices of frames and lenses without a corresponding increase in quality or value. 4. Constant pressure by the NY Regional Sales Manager to provide not only Sunday hours, but also coverage for Black Friday, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Most of this coverage lies outside of the signed sublease agreement. 5. LUX accepting, from Jan 2007, the NY State Employee Plan under EyeMed. This is basically a union plan with low reimbursement and even includes contact lens fittings as part of the plan. This plan might increase patient traffic,but at the cost of a reduction of ODs fee reimbursement. 6. The recent formation of K-MART Optical that will do nothing but cannibalize patient traffic from Sears Optical (Remember, Sears and K-Mart are the same company now). K-MART Opticals even look like Sears Opticals. So now, there will be two LUX brands fighting after the same low end patient/customer.
With all of these demands and nothing in the way of Corporate to increase not only patient flow and exam fees for ODs, what plausible reason is there for ODs to stay associated with Sears Optical? It is the unwanted red headed step-child of the LUX family.
I can't understand how Sears Optical could virtually remove all advertising and expect success. That is just absurd. There are so many people that don't even know that Sears Optical HAS an Optical w/ an OD.
In addition to the loss of these ODs, there are several managers that have resigned from Sears Optical in the NY region as well, and many more are contemplating it. When will corporate learn that in order for the brand to grow, it must be strong and the associates and ODs must feel both comfortable, confident, and be able to make a decent living?
I may be the next OD to leave the region. I am sure, unfortunately, that there are new ODs who know nothing about the politics of the situation who would salivate at the chance of being an "independent doctor of optometry) at Sears Optical!