GPS & Vision Express (A)
In the summer of 1997, the executive team of GPS, a very successful French retailer in the one-hour photo finishing and one-hour eyewear business, is trying to decide whether to purchase Vision Express of the United Kingdom. Both companies are very entrepreneurial, fast growing, and have pioneered the one-hour service concept in their respective countries. The founder of Vision Express was Dean Butler, the American who previously founded Lens Crafters in the United States. In spite of their similarities, the formula for success of the two companies is rather different, with Vision Express relying heavily on advertisements that feature two-for-one sales and GPS competing on high service levels and repeat business. The acquisition, if made, would be GPS's first major expansion outside France.