Warby Parker’s first-quarter sales surged, but eyewear chain still in the red

(Source: Warby Parker/Facebook)

Warby Parker lost $2.7 million over the first quarter, despite a 16.3 per cent surge in revenue to $200 million.

“Notably a lot of the growth this quarter has been driven by active customers whose average spending has increased by 9.6 per cent over the past year,” said analyst Neil Saunders, MD at GlobalData. “Some of this is down to the expansion of the range into higher price points, which has encouraged trading.

“In addition to trading up, we detected a small uplift in the number of people buying new eyewear across the whole market during the first three months of the year as they refreshed looks and updated their prescriptions.”

The eyewear retailer opened eight net new stores during the three months, ending the quarter with 245.

Moving forward, Warby Parker CEO co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa said the company is keen to invest in customer acquisition while scaling its holistic vision care offering.

For the full year, the company forecasts net revenue to grow about 12.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent to between $753 million and $761 million.

“Appreciably, Warby Parker isn’t a concept that appeals to every person buying eyewear, but we think the chain needs to amp up its efforts to attract existing customers of other optical retailers,” said Saunders.

“The problem is that, for many, optical testing and frame purchasing are interlinked and there is a habitual nature in returning to the same store to have eye exams. Warby Parker needs to find a way to break this cycle via creative marketing which will, in turn, help it to boost customer numbers.”

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