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Countrywide reveals significant branch closures and headcount reductions in latest results

Cost cutting measures have helped company's turnover and profits reductions slow but most performance dials have dimmed.

Nigel Lewis


Countrywide has revealed another set of poor results in its half-year update published today, and admitted for the first time that it has been closing branches and cutting staff numbers.

The company has tried to make the best of the results which, although they show losses and turnover reductions slowing, still reveal huge challenges for the business in the coming months.

One highlight of the report is that the company has once again regained its top position in market share for property sales, overtaking Purplebricks after reaching 8.4% of all listings.

But otherwise the results show most dials dimming over the past six months.

Homes exchanged

Compared to the same period last year total income is down by 4% and adjusted EBITDA by 60% as exceptional item costs continue to affect the company’s results, while all of its activities saw income drop including homes exchanged (-2%), letting income (-2%) properties under management (-2%) and B2B (-5%).

Countrywide has been hit particularly hard in its lettings division, where exiting landlords have reduced stock by 12% and listings by 10%, while the tenant fees ban reduced income by 2%.

In light of the results, Countrywide says it has been reducing costs including closing loss-making branches, reducing staffing levels at other branches and cutting marketing spend. The company spent £1.3 million on redundancy costs during the first six months of the year.

Peter Long, Countrywide, image“The fundamental changes we have made to our business in the last 18 months are beginning to bear fruit,” says Peter Long, Executive Chairman (left).

“Our register and pipeline of agreed sales is healthy and we continue to rebuild market share, re-establishing our market-leading position across both sales and lettings. The market, however, remains weak, affected by political and Brexit uncertainty.”

The company’s stock price reduced significantly yesterday in expectation of these results, dropping by 15% to 4.5p a share.

July 31, 2019

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