Bucking the trend of recent research revealing the struggles of high street retailers across the UK, Easy Living Mobility has launched a new high street store in Hanley, Staffordshire.
Located only a stone’s throw away from its Roebuck Shopping Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the new group-owned store brings the expanding retailer’s store portfolio tally to 12, having recently opened its first franchise-owned store in Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Centre this June.
Established in 2001 by owner Daniel Griffiths, Easy Living Mobility now employs 32 staff and has an expanding presence in the West Midlands. In February 2019, the mobility retailer launched its franchise scheme, declaring its intention to become the UK’s leading national retailer.
Boasting a 2,000sqft showroom showcasing a wide array of mobility products, the launch of its new store comes as the high street continues to see a number of retailers struggling amidst rising costs and falling footfall.
In August, the British Retail Consortium called on the Government to freeze business rates for town centre businesses as vacant retail spaces in the former shopping hubs hit their highest level since January 2015 in July 2019, alongside the worst decline in footfall for July since 2012.
In addition, research by Local Data Company (LDC) and PwC in September showed that the first half of 2019 saw the highest number of high street closures since analysis began back in 2010.
Undeterred by the gloomy high street forecasts however, Daniel suggests that by listening to customer needs and adapting stores accordingly, retailers can continue to enjoy success on the high street.
“We may all operate within the same group and share the same business principles; however, each Easy Living Mobility store has a different strategy. Over the past 15+ years all my store teams have embedded themselves in the community with outreach that gives us a true understanding of what people need in each region,” he explains.
“Culture, activities, terrain, lifestyles… all can vary even across a single region such as the Midlands and over time. This is why we continually tailor our services and product range accordingly so that independence is maximised for all with restricted mobility. By continually listening to ever-changing local needs, we have been able to stay ahead of the curve and beat the downward high street trend.”
Discussing how this idea of tailoring the offer for a specific store location works, Daniel continues: “For example, the type of mobility scooter that’s popular will vary between areas so our provision of TGA product varies. We find more rural locations in the west drive demand for scooters with strong off-road capabilities, such as the Breeze S4. Whereas more built-up areas can dictate a need for smaller scooters particularly the folding Minimo.
“Dudley, for example, is hilly so customers seek a combination of both product types along with TGA powerpacks for wheelchairs. Wherever our store is located the reliability and long-term value of scooters do not vary – this is why TGA is our flagship brand.”
To adapt the store offering to meet the needs of local customers requires an in-depth understanding of the community, however, points of Daniel.
“To be successful you must consider your customer base through-and-through – this is what we do. Get it exactly right and you know what customers will ask for before they come through the door,” he finishes.
“My business is all about dialling-in to what customers require. This is why we organise coffee mornings or visit care homes to talk to people struggling to remain mobile. Easy Living is not just about selling, it is far more than that, we believe in giving back to the community with impartial advice for easier living. Our new team at Hanley are already planning how to help the community by signposting towards solutions for greater social inclusion. Exciting times for locals and us.”
By Calvin Barnett