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Duncan and Todd Group appoint Product Development Manager

Duncan and Todd Group, Scotland’s largest independent optometrist and hearing care specialist, has appointed a product development manager to help drive its growth plans.

Gillian Sibeth will work as part of a team with colleagues to support the group’s retail and external manufacturing arms.

The newly created role will see her travelling to branches across Scotland and managing the roll out of frames, lenses and other products, including developing training and career development opportunities.

Gillian brings more than 25 years of experience in the optical sector, most recently with a practice in Edinburgh, where she was a retail dispensing optician specialising in individual and artisan eyewear.

She said she was pleased to have joined Duncan and Todd Group.

“I am excited to have taken on a new challenge which will allow me to implement the skills and experiences gained over 25 years in the optical industry.

“My passion is eyewear and I gain most satisfaction from advising and delivering an incredible service and end product. My focus is on client experience and finding a solution to their visual needs as well as personal tailoring in styling the perfect eyewear.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to join a forward-thinking group so I am looking forward to working with the Duncan and Todd team across Scotland and helping to drive sales growth,” Gillian said.

Frances Rus, managing director of Duncan and Todd Group, welcomed Gillian to the team.

“We are delighted to have Gillian on board to help us drive sales and grow the business through our retail offering as well as our increased manufacturing capabilities at our new premises in Aberdeen.

“She brings a huge amount of experience as a dispensing optician with a proven track record in retail and is key to our growth plans in 2023 and beyond,” she said.

Duncan and Todd Group recently marked its 50th anniversary with a multi-million pound investment into the new manufacturing lab and the acquisition of five branches across the country.

The Group was founded in 1972 by Norman Duncan and Stewart Todd, who opened their first branch in Peterhead with the aim of providing a professional local eyecare service.

It has since expanded significantly and now boasts more than 40 branches.

It has recently acquired a number of independent opticians, including Eyewise Optometrists on Banchory’s High Street, Pitlochry Opticians, G A Henderson Optometrist in Thurso and The Spectacle Company in Stonehaven and Montrose.

The acquisition of nine practices from Black & Lizars in 2019 bolstered Duncan and Todd’s reach across Scotland, from the Borders and central belt to the Highlands and Islands, and the company is now looking for further acquisition targets.

Duncan and Todd Group trades as 20 20 Opticians south of Tayside and as Duncan and Todd in the north, as well as retaining names which are well known locally, such as JM MacDonald in the Highlands.

Over the past few years, the group has invested in hearing care and also offers this service across Scotland, with free hearing tests and supply, fitting and tuning of a comprehensive range of hearing aids, including digital aids.

The new lab – which is expected to open in Dyce, Aberdeen, in the next few weeks – represents a major investment in premises for the group’s manufacturing arm Caledonian Optical and the very latest equipment for manufacturing bespoke lenses for customers.

The group also group operates Smart Employee Eyecare (SEE), a corporate eye care offering which provides a simple web-based service to satisfy a company’s legal HSE compliance requirements for employees’ eye care to large public and private sector clients.

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