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BRIEFLY

Retailing

September 26, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Cole National to Acquire Pearle Vision: The $220-million acquisition by the Cleveland-based company from Britain's Grand Metropolitan will make Cole the second-largest eye wear retailer in the U.S. Cole will then sell the 183 stores in Pearle's European division to an investor group for $55 million, while retaining a minority stake. The purchase of the 692 North American Pearle Vision shops will give Cole a strong brand name for its 1,500 optical shops that operate in stores such as Sears Roebuck & Co., Montgomery Ward and Dayton Hudson Corp.'s Target. Cole said the acquisition, expected to be completed in November, should boost annual sales to more than $900 million. Last year Pearle had operating profit of $16 million on sales of about $365 million. It will rank second in size behind the LensCrafter unit of Italy's Luxottica Group. Cole also operates 780 Things Remembered gift stores and more than 500 Cole Key centers in other chains.

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