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Simplyhealth closes its retail operations

Tue, 17 Oct 2017

Simplyhealth has announced that it has taken the decision to close its store-basedretail operations, developed as The Unlimited Company, following the availability of mobility products being provided by large general retailers and online providers.

Describing the decision as ‘difficult’, the closures announced on the 17th of October will see ten stores close immediately, including seven branded The Unlimited Company, as well as three that operate under the Independent Living and Collins Care brands.

Five other stores that fall under the Care and Mobility banner will remain open while a possible sale of this part of the business is considered.

In 2016, The Unlimited Company was launched with its flagship store in Bristol, aiming to bring an innovative approach to retailing and provide better support to an ageing population, those with mobility requirements and their carers.

The company says its stores, which garnered praise for their stylish, modern design, focused on offering awide, appealing range of products, complemented by dedicated online and in-the-field expertise providing high levels of service and advice.

However, since that time, Simplyhealth states there has been a real shift in the requirements of customers and a wider availability of mobility products being provided by large general retailers and online providers, leading to a change in the future sustainability of the current proposition.

The closures will affect a total of 85 employees, [including those at Care and Mobility], with the company affirming that it will support them individually and explore available options with them.

Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth said:"This is not the outcome we wanted when we created The Unlimited Company proposition. It was a very difficult decision to make, not just taking into account the thousands of customers that we have helped but because our own people will be affected. However, we remain committed to ensuring that people who need help with mobility or caring get the best advice and products possible.”

The Unlimited Company will also fulfil all orders that have already been placed and will continue to support customers, initially contacting them over the coming days.

Romana added: "As someone with a disability myself, I know there is a need for better support networks for people. Unfortunately, it has become clear that physical shops are not a viable way forward for Simplyhealth and from a business viewpoint we have to ensure we look at better ways of providing people with the support they need.”

Raman Sankaran, Chief Commercial Officer for Simplyhealth, took over the day-to-day running of The Unlimited Company in July 2017 and has led a planned review of the business.

He said: "We understand that health and care is one journey for customers and we will continue to focus on how best to meet their needs, both on our own, and by working with partners. Our new online eldercare guidance and advice proposition, Care for Life, which we launched as an employee benefit last week, is just one example of how we’re aiming to meet changing healthcare needs by being innovative and collaborative.”

Simplyhealth, the UK’s leading health cash plan provider, recently developed Simplyhealth Care for Life, an online service providing a wide range of guidance, from access to legal, financial, care at home and care home information to finding a trusted trader or localised support services and help groups close to home.

The company says it will continue to innovate in the space, exploring different ways to meet the growing demand for advice and guidance in the health and care markets.


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