Simplyhealth has announced that it has taken the difficult decision to close its store based retail proposition, including The Unlimited Company store in The Chantry Centre, Andover.
Ten stores will close immediately, including seven that are branded The Unlimited Company as well as three that operate under the Independent Living and Collins Care brands. The ten stores are located in Andover, Bristol, Bicester, Blackburn, Burnham, Droitwich, Leeds, Morton Park, Norwich and Radstock. 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.
The Unlimited Company proposition was developed in 2016 as an innovative retail format to provide better support to an ageing population, people with mobility requirements and their carers. Its approach centred on well-designed stores offering a wide and more appealing range of products, complemented by dedicated online and in-the-field expertise providing high levels of service and advice.
Since then we have seen a real shift in the requirements of customers and a wider availability of mobility products being provided by large general retailers and online providers which has changed the future sustainability of the current proposition.
A total of 85 employees, [including those at Care and Mobility] will be affected and we will be supporting them individually and exploring the available options with them. The Unlimited Company will fulfil all orders that have already been placed and will continue to support customers, initially contacting them over the coming days.
Simplyhealth will continue to innovate in this space, exploring different ways to meet the growing demand for advice and guidance in the health and care markets. We have already 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.
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.
“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 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.”
Customers with any queries can contact a dedicated team on 0808 271 6481.