Industry retailer Mobility Choices has acquired UK walking aid specialist Flexyfoot in a move that will expand its offering to the trade and position both companies for further growth.
The Manchester-based outfit, which has a store in Denton and runs an established online operation, concluded the takeover last week.
Managing director, Rob Davies, told AMP that the acquisition of the Woking-based supplier would add another string to its bow and provide strong cross-selling opportunities.
“We are going to run Flexyfoot as a separate business still,” he explained. “The brand itself is a fantastic brand – it is very well-recognised. It is a really exciting move for both businesses.”
Flexyfoot has made a name for itself in the walking aid sector by creating products that challenge the stigma of traditional walking aids and give safe, flexible support to those who need it. Its product range encompasses items such as walking stick ferrules, folding walking sticks and closed cuff crutches.
Two years ago it raised investment on the Seedrs crowdfunding platform and laid out a strategy for conquering the UK and international markets. It estimated that around 4% of a country’s population typically uses some sort of walking aid. At that time the company was making sales of £150,000 a year and seeing upwards growth of more than 20%.
According to its calculations, the total value of the addressable market in the UK and key international markets of Germany, China, Japan, South Korea and the US is some £870m.
Mobility Choices has been retailing Flexyfoot for the last two years and the success it has had with the brand persuaded it to step in when the opportunity arose to secure ownership of the brand.
Additionally, there was further mutual ground through both companies’ relationship with Ossenberg, the crutches and orthopaedic equipment manufacturer.
Mobility Choices markets Ossenberg’s range of crutches in the UK, while Ossenberg is actually a distributor of Flexyfoot’s products in Germany. Mr Davies said it was likely that management of the Ossenberg range would move across to the Flexyfoot side of the business in future in order to give it even stronger focus.
Mr Davies said the next step for the firm is to increase the Flexyfoot portfolio and make the operation more streamlined. “As I said, it is already a well-recognised brand with a great product so it is now about building on those foundations with more products. The customers love the products, so our focus is on widening the audience appeal and increasing the offering.”
Flexyfoot will continue to be led by operations manager Georgie Powell. “From our point of view we are delighted to have Georgie leading the business. She is somebody who knows the business inside-out and the aim is for her to continuing doing what she has been doing but hopefully with more tools.”
Ms Powell said that after a challenging operating year, the brand was looking forward to a bright future. “This agreement secures the future of both the brand and the business, which we are delighted with. We are now looking forward to developing the product range for the market.”