Retailers lose £1.8bn as disabled turn elsewhere

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75% of disabled consumers have left shops due to poor service.

A new report by the Extra Costs Commission led by disability charity Scope has found that 75% of disabled people and their families have turned away from a UK business due to poor service.

The research has developed upon previous findings by the Business Disability Forum (BDF) in 2006, which estimated the cost of the ‘walk away pound’ – or the money lost from disabled customers turning to other stores.

The Commission has now estimated this value as £1.8bn a month if retailers continue to undervalue the needs of disabled customers.

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George Selvanera, Director of Policy, Services & Communications at BDF, said: "The findings of the Commission’s report are a call to action for business to seek out new ways of improving the customer experience for disabled people. The rapid ageing of the UK population, growing numbers of older and disabled people and changing technology make the case for business investing in improving accessibility more and more compelling.

"At BDF, we know it is not all bad news. Companies such as Barclays Bank, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Sainsbury’s, BT and others are leading the way in inclusive design and improving the disabled and older customer experience. There is more to do definitely, but there is learning from some of the best.’

Warren Buckley, Chair of BDF, added that the ‘purple pound’ – the name given to the market of disabled consumers – is worth an estimated £200bn to the UK economy.

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