Tesco sees way to offload opticians venture that began in Peterborough

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Supermarket giant Tesco is to sell a venture that began at its Peterborough store to broaden its offering.

The retailer has just agreed a deal sell its network of more than 200 in-store opticians to Vision Express.

Tesco opened its first in-store opticians at its store in Serpentine Green, in Peterborough, in 1998.

It had grown the network to 100 by 2008 and has more than doubled the chain since then.

The network makes about £90 million a year in sales.

But now Tesco has embarked on a turnaround plan to offload non-core businesses as it battles falling sales, increased competition and changing shopping habits.

Under the new deal, Vision Express will continue to run the opticians based in 206 Tesco stores across the UK and three in Ireland and pledged to retain all of the workforce of around 1,500 staff.

Tesco’s UK and Ireland chief executive, Matt Davies, said the deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, “allows us to further simplify and strengthen our UK business”.

He added: “Our priority now is to work with our colleagues and support them through this change.”

Vision Express, which is owned by global group GrandVision, said the acquisition will boost its chain to 598 in the UK and Ireland.

The deal is expected to complete later this year, but still needs to be given the green light by competition authorities.

Recently, Tesco has sold off businesses including its restaurant chain Giraffe, Dobbies Garden Centres and music and video streaming service Blinkbox.

But it is also looking to expand in targeted areas, having recently announced a £3.7 billion merger with wholesale giant Booker.

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