Coastal Contacts Inc.

Coastal Contacts Inc.

May 05, 2009 09:00 ET

Coastal Contacts Crosses First 100,000 Eyeglasses Milestone

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire – May 5, 2009) – Coastal Contacts Inc. (TSX:COA) announced today that it has delivered more than 100,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses since launching the program regionally in February, 2008. The Company continues to expand both the product offering and geographic markets being targeted based on the early success of the program.

Market research indicates that the market for prescription eyeglasses exceeds $37 billion annually in markets where Coastal currently competes such as North America and Europe. In the United States alone, more than 60% of adults require vision correction and that number is growing owing to the aging population and increased computer usage resulting in more than 75 million pairs of prescription eyeglasses being sold annually in that market.

"The market opportunity for high quality eyeglasses, at an affordable price delivered direct to consumers is immense and we have just scratched the surface," stated Roger Hardy, Coastal Contacts, Founder and CEO. "By hitting this milestone after only launching the program regionally, combined with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive from our customers on a daily basis, it has become clear that the model works and is resonating with consumers in a challenging economic climate.

We began researching this opportunity three years ago and were appalled at the prices being charged to consumers by retail optical stores and eye care practitioners. Consistent with Coastal's vision we developed a product offering that is simple and transparent: the highest quality branded and private label frames combined with the highest quality lenses, all treated with scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, starting at just $38. We offer an unconditional "no hassle" return policy for the eyeglasses, reducing any perceived risk of the purchase to zero.

Our experience to date tells us if a consumer tries a pair of Coastal eyeglasses, they will be wowed by the product, the service and the value they receive. Many customers who try us once, come back for additional purchases because they can now afford to own more than one pair of eyeglasses.

We believe a key differentiator for Coastal as this channel develops is leveraging the two million strong base of active vision corrected customers Coastal has built since 2000, through supplying them name brand replacement contact lenses, at a great price and conveniently. The majority of contact lens wearers also own at least one pair of eyeglasses. In just over a year, we have become a market leader in this rapidly growing category and the trends we are experiencing give us confidence that eyeglasses will become a material component of Coastal's success over the next few years.

It is interesting to note that to date we have received approximately 50% of our eyeglasses orders from existing contact lens customers, but that the other 50% are new to Coastal. Accessing this much larger market is exciting for Coastal from both a revenue and earnings potential perspective."

About Coastal Contacts:

Coastal Contacts Inc. ( is the world's leading direct-to-consumer vision products company which designs, produces and distributes a diversified offering such as contact lenses and eyeglasses. The Company's unique combination of branded and private label products represent quality, value and above all, service. Coastal sells into more than 150 countries through proprietary web properties which reflect the culture and consumer preference of the target market. As new markets for eyeglasses and contact lenses evolve, the Company is positioned to become the vision product consumer's retailer of choice owing to its unbeatable value proposition combining value and service. Already No. 1 in many of its markets, Coastal is rapidly advancing toward its goal of becoming the "World's Optical Store".

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements that reflect the current views and/or expectations of Coastal Contacts Inc. with respect to its performance, business and future events. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, those relating to changes in the market, potential downturns in economic conditions, consumer credit risk, limited suppliers, inventory risk, disruption in our distribution facilities, foreign exchange fluctuations, changes in business strategy, regulatory requirements, demand for contact lenses and other vision care products, competition, dependence on the internet and other risks detailed in our filings with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Reference should be made to the section entitled "Risk Factors" contained in our most recently filed Annual Information Form dated January 29, 2009 for a detailed description of the risks and uncertainties relating to our business. These risks, as well as others, could cause actual results and events to vary significantly. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and information, which are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Except as required by applicable law, Coastal Contacts does not undertake any obligations to release publicly any revisions for updating any voluntary forward-looking statements.

Neither the TSX nor any other regulatory body has reviewed and therefore does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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