Didier Pascual

Groupe AFFLELOU is Europe’s leading network of franchise optical stores. In 2011, Groupe AFFLELOU launched a hearing-aid activity on the same model as the optical activity.


0m (optical)
Sector: Consumer Investment date: 2012 Apax position: Minority Activity: MidMarket
Why did we invest?

Groupe AFFLELOU is the leading optical franchise in Europe, #3 optical banner in France and #2 in Spain. The company has a long-standing track-record of successful products innovations (€1 daily contact lenses, made-to-order progressive lenses), commercial offers (2 for 1…) and services (insurance, free-of-charge credit). It benefits from strong brand awareness: 99% in France, 87% in Spain, 89% in Belgium, 80% in Switzerland.

Groupe AFFLELOU benefits from positive structural trends in its market: ageing population, increasing exposure to digital display, technological innovation and growing sensitivity to fashion.

How do we intend to create value?

The investment thesis is to roll-out stores in existing or new markets (China) and to acquire medium-sized optical chains in France, Spain, Portugal and Denmark.


As of 2016 year-end, the Group had a foothold in 13 countries and an international network of 1,403 stores, of which 165 are hearing-aid sales outlets in France and Spain, most of which operate under a franchise model. For its financial year ending 31 July 2016, optical sales reached €345.7m.

In 2016, the Group continued to expand on international markets, opening its first stores in China and Chile and acquiring 55 stores in Spain.

This brings the company’s total number of stores outside France to nearly 500.

The Group has recently completed several acquisitions:

2016: Optimil, a Spanish chain of discount stores with 55 sales outlets and 2 websites, Happyview.fr and Malentille.com

2015: Optical Discount, a chain of discount store franchises with 89 sales outlets in France.

In 2016, the Group acquired two internet sites, Happyview.fr and Malentille.com, bringing in an experienced team of digital experts in the optical sector to support the group’s omnichannel strategy.



  • At the end of 2015 the group operated an international network of 1,277 optical stores in 13 countries. For its financial year ending 31 July 2015, optical sales reached €323.9m. The number of hearing-aid points of sales, as of 31 December 2015, was already 157 across France and Spain, mainly under a franchise model.
  • The Group outperformed its market with notably the acquisition of Optical Discount stores and the launch of Win-Win staring Sharon Stone.

The Group pursues its international expansion, bringing the total number of stores outside France to more than 400.

The Group acquired Optical Discount in July 2015, a franchise discount chain totaling 89 stores in France.

In June 2015 the Group launched a new version of its Affleloustore.com website, adding sunglasses to contact lenses and featuring breakthrough virtual try-on technology.


  • Launching of the first collection of frames bearing the Afflelou signature. The 45 frames in the collection are manufactured using non-deformable materials derived from research conducted by aerospace scientists.
  • Affleloustore.com was launched with sales initially limited to contact lenses and their associated products. The launch of the e-commerce site is the first stage of the group’s deployment of an innovative multi-channel strategy.
  • The group agreed a three-year collaboration with the actress Sharon Stone, who will become the face of the Groupe AFFLELOU.