Scooter Store sees promise in 2Q sales

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- After years of FBI investigations, lawsuits and slumping sales, the Scooter Store found one reason to celebrate in mid-July -- a 19% increase in second quarter business over the first quarter.
That increase translated into more than 11,500 power wheelchair sales during the those three months, and a 50% increase in private pay business over the first quarter, according to the New Braunfels' newspaper, the Herald-Zeitung, on July 15.
Part of the increase can be attributed to renewed business with federal insurance programs that have started paying claims that are the subject of federal lawsuits.
"For months now, we have been having discussions and negotiations with agencies of the federal government that we haven't had in years," Scooter Store President Mike Pfister said in the article.
The Scooter Store did not respond to interview requests by press time.
The company also hired 62 new employees -- many of whom will be part of the company's newly expanded outside sales force.
The company was also excited about its recent collaboration with Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services. As a participant in the Visiting Angels Family Advantages program, The Scooter Store will offer free mobility consultations to clients and their families served by the Visiting Angels' network of 250 franchises across North America, according to a company release.
"We see firsthand that mobility is a major, growing issue, and our relationship with The Scooter Store will help us better serve the comprehensive day-to-day needs of today's seniors," said Forrest Beck, national director of business relations for Visiting Angels.
Despite the slowly growing sales figures, the Scooter Store still faces a battle in the courts over its lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services. That suit, filed in January, claims the government illegally withheld reimbursement for 101 power wheelchairs and scooters provided between 2000 and 2003. The government responded by filing a counterclaim in March that questioned the legality of the company's business practices.
In July, the government asked the court's permission to revise the filing.
"Given the weakness of the original counterclaim, it is no surprise that the government would request the opportunity to amend," said Pfister in a press release. "In the interest of judicial efficiency and in the spirit of cooperation, the Scooter Store consented to the government's request."