The cull of branches by Countrywide at some of its estate agency brands has been much discussed, and largely denied by the estate agency in recent months as it has cut its operating expenses as losses have mounted.
But what’s happening on the ground can be clearly seen at one of its agencies in the South West; Palmer Snell.
Research for The Negotiator shows that in August the company listed 19 branches across Dorset and Somerset on its website, but this has now reduced to 14 or a 26% reduction in the number of offices.
The closures include branches in Bridgewater, Bridport, one of its offices in Weston-super-Mare and in Winton.
A fifth office, in Dorchester was closed before August, long enough ago for the site to have been sold and planning permission granted for the property to be converted into a one-bedroom flat from A2 commercial use.
The remaining surviving branches are in Boscombe, Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Martock, Somerton, Taunton, Upton, Wells, Westbourne, (high street) Weston-super-Mare, Yeovil, Weymouth and Wincanton.
In the past Countrywide has not confirmed or denied individual branch closures, but its latest annual report does hint at what’s going on internally.
“The base case scenario reflects the latest forecasts and three year plan that was approved by the Board in October 2020 which reflects the Board’s current view on the likely impact of COVID-19 and Brexit.
“The key assumptions used in the base case include estimates of the volume of UK housing market transactions and the Group’s market share…as well as the impact of the closure of a number of loss making branches.”