Wal-Mart Teams with 1-800 CONTACTS to Expand Vision Care Offerings and Increase...

Wal-Mart Teams with 1-800 CONTACTS to Expand Vision Care Offerings and Increase Customer Savings

Companies estimate first of its kind alliance could save customers approximately $400 million on contact lenses over the next three years


Bentonville, AR and Draper, UT–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – PRNewswire)–January 18, 2008–In the latest move to help drive down healthcare costs, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced a long-term agreement with 1-800 CONTACTS that will bring contact lenses to more Americans at lower prices. The alliance combines Wal-Mart savings and the convenience and high quality care of independent eye doctors located in nearly 3,000 Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Clubs with 1-800 CONTACTS’ convenience and customer support to help customers save money and live better, healthier lives.

Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and 1-800 CONTACTS will create efficiencies across their call centers, websites, purchasing, and distribution efforts — resulting in customer savings the companies estimate could reach $400 million over the next three years. By offering greater accessibility and savings on contact lenses, the alliance also aims to make it easier to replace lenses according to a schedule doctors recommend, a practice that may result in better eye health.

According to a 2004 Federal Trade Commission report, a McKinsey & Company survey showed that contact lens wearers use lenses longer than their doctor prescribed. Some consumers in that same survey specifically cited cost and “purchasing them is inconvenient” as reasons for over-wearing their lenses.*

“Our $4 prescription program is proof that Wal-Mart is committed to meeting America’s healthcare challenges. Our commitment to affordable eye care is no different,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, senior vice president and president for Wal-Mart’s professional services division. “Lowering costs and increasing convenience will make it easier for patients to follow their doctors’ advice and replace their lenses as recommended.”

Jonathan C. Coon, chief executive officer of 1-800 CONTACTS stated, “The majority of contact lens wearers experience high prices and limited service. This alliance can save these customers nearly 20 percent on their contact lenses while also offering the convenience of 24/7 live service from an associate by calling 1-800 CONTACTS or online at http://www.1800contacts.com.”

The companies expect to integrate store, web, and phone service this fall so customers can order when they want, how they want, and have their lenses delivered quickly to wherever they want.

For more information on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s current Vision Center services, visit http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=546837 or http://www.samsclub.com/shopping/navigate.do?catg=5351&n=0.

About Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com.

About 1-800 CONTACTS

1-800 CONTACTS offers consumers an attractive alternative for obtaining replacement contact lenses in terms of convenience, price, breadth of inventory, and speed of delivery. Through its easy-to-remember, toll-free telephone number, “1-800 CONTACTS” (1-800-266-8228), and its Internet web site, http://www.1800contacts.com, the Company sells all of the popular brands of contact lenses. 1-800 CONTACTS offers products at competitive prices, while delivering a high level of customer service. In a public-to-private transaction, 1-800 CONTACTS was acquired by an affiliate of Fenway Partners LLC, a middle market private equity firm with approximately $2.0 billion under management. For further information about Fenway Partners, please visit http://www.fenwaypartners.com.

* Editor’s note: From the 2004 Federal Trade Commission report, “Possible Anticompetitive Barriers to E-Commerce” available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2004/03/040329clreportfinal.pdf. Specifically, consumers stated that they “try to save money by wearing their contact lenses for more days than their doctor recommends before disposing of them.” This same FTC study states that “fifty-seven percent of consumers stated they would replace their lenses more frequently if the lenses cost less.” Some consumers in the same study also said they wear their lenses longer because “purchasing them is inconvenient.”

Wal-Mart Teams with 1-800 CONTACTS to Expand Vision Care Offerings and Increase Customer Savings