Optician Duncan and Todd invests in new lab and branches - with further acquisitions in sights

Aberdeen-headquartered optometrist and hearing care firm Duncan and Todd Group has marked its 50th anniversary with a multi-million-pound investment into a new manufacturing lab and purchase of five branches.

The firm, led by managing director Frances Rus, says it has expanded significantly across Aberdeenshire and beyond, boasting more than 40 branches currently – and it is now targeting further acquisition targets.

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

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It has recently acquired a number of independent opticians, including Eyewise Optometrists on Banchory’s High Street; Pitlochry Opticians; and G A Henderson Optometrist in Thurso – which have all rebranded as Duncan and Todd – and The Spectacle Company in Stonehaven and Montrose. It has also taken on patients registered at Gibson Opticians on Rosemount Viaduct in Aberdeen, which closed due to retirement.

Duncan and Todd Group was founded in 1972 and now boasts more than 40 branches. Picture: contributed.

The group acquired nine practices from Black & Lizars in 2019, following private equity investment and extending its reach across Scotland, from the Borders and Central Belt to Highlands and Islands. It trades as 20 20 Opticians south of Tayside and as Duncan and Todd in the north, as well as retaining well-known local names such as JM MacDonald in the Highlands. Over the past few years, it has invested in hearing care and offers this across Scotland.

Duncan and Todd Group added that the new lab – expected to open in Dyce, Aberdeen, later in the year – represents a major investment in new premises for its manufacturing arm Caledonian Optical and hi-tech equipment for manufacturing bespoke lenses.

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Ms Rus said: “Reaching our 50th birthday is a huge milestone and Duncan and Todd Group is almost unrecognisable from the early days with just one branch in Peterhead. As we enter a new decade... we have made a number of strategic acquisitions and have invested heavily in the new lab, which will increase our capacity to manufacture lenses for our branches and clients across the UK.

“We are always looking for opportunities for new acquisitions and are looking at options as part of our plans for continued expansion. As we prepare to open our new lab later in the year, this is an exciting time for the group.”

MD Frances Rus says: 'We are always looking for opportunities for new acquisitions and are looking at options as part of our plans for continued expansion.' Picture: contributed.