Mobility group shuts five stores as bosses delist firm amid sales decline and losses

DHAIS is focusing on its hearing department. Image credit: Hearing and Mobility

DHAIS Plc, which is the parent group of industry retailer Hearing and Mobility, is ‘reviewing the options’ for its mobility division after closing five stores as the business realigns itself to focus on its hearing department.        

The group sold its Sidmouth and Northampton stores to local mobility retailers last year and a further three sites were closed after leases were surrendered, leaving DHAIS with a portfolio of five stores.

In its latest strategic report for the year ended 30 June 2017, the group announced that it is also delisting itself ten years after it floated itself on the stock market in a move to save costs and streamline the business.

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The company, which in the past has taken over numerous mobility retailers, including Keep Able, said that it is planning no further acquisitions.

In the report, chairman Mark Moss said that the company originally intended to use its publicly traded shares to acquire businesses, which it successfully did in the first few years following the flotation.

But he added: “In recent years the company has been realigning its business activities by reducing its mobility operations and expanding its hearing aid division.”

DHAIS intends to step up its hearing division, stating that its directors are “content with being in the right sector at the right time”.

Mr Moss said: “The strategy to ramp up the hearing division follows recognition of the difficulties embedded in operating profitably the mobility division in which some of the stores are spread far apart thus not benefiting from the cluster advantage enjoyed by some of our mobility competitors.”

The group’s strategic report also stated that Clever Bookers Ltd, of which DHAIS owned 50%, has been wound up.

During the 12 month period up to 30 June 2017, DHAIS’ turnover fell 14% to just over £8m and the group made an operating loss of more than £500,000 compared to a £200,000 loss in the previous period.

In spite of the losses, DHAIS said its mission continues to be to have the best products, service, marketing and staff.

The moves it made last year to save costs and streamline the business promise the additional financial resources needed to build on the group’s strategy to expand and drive its hearing aid division.

It maintains that the prospects for business growth are “good” and Mr Moss said that the future strategy is to build on the group’s business model of advertising, retail sales of hearing aids in-store and in customers’ homes and to maximise the return from the mobility division.

Mr Moss started Hearing and Mobility as a hearing aid dispenser over 40 years ago. In 2002 he launched DHAIS which widened the scope from simply providing hearing aids to also providing mobility aids as well.

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