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Lettings and financial services help LSL pull through as sales division struggles

Company's half year interim results reveal profits from its sales operation almost halve, but revenues at mortgage arm rise by 20%.

Nigel Lewis

LSL Your Move

LSL has put a brave face on a difficult first half of the year for the company during which steeply reducing revenues from sales have been offset by a reasonable performance by its other operations including lettings and financial services.

The company’s income from its sales division dropped by 11% overall while its high-profile London brand Marsh & Parsons endured a 15% drop despite opening a new branch in Chiswick. Such weak performances helped cut profits within the sales division from £9.4 million to £5 million.

This is partly explained by the closure of eight branches during the final three months of last year, LSL says.

“In a highly competitive market, the Estate Agency Division has broadly maintained residential market share and delivered a small increase in average residential fees per unit,” the company says.

Such a challenging property market has knocked overall group performance figures for six, although the company says it has always performed better during the second half of the year and expects its overall 2018 business forecasts to be met.

Profits plunge

Nevertheless, during the first half of the year its profit before tax dropped by 51%, although revenues held steady overall at £151.5 million.

Its best-performing divisions include lettings, where revenues increased by 4%. The company says it has restarted its programme of buying up property management portfolios and has spent £500,000 so far this year buying two.

But LSL’s brightest star is its financial services division, whose turnover rose by 20% helped chiefly by several acquisitions in recent months.

These were the purchase of IFA support firm Personal Touch Financial Services for £2.8 million and new homes mortgage specialist RSC for £2.5 million.
Financial services now represent a third of the company’s revenues, its interim results for the first six months of the year reveal.

“The Group has delivered a resilient first half revenue performance in the context of challenging residential property market conditions,” says CEO Simon Embley (pictured, left).

“Whilst Residential Sales volumes remained suppressed, revenue trends in other parts of our business are more robust due to our ongoing self-help measures.”

LSL is one of the largest agency corporates in the UK and owns Your Move, the largest estate agency brand in the UK with 260 branches. This added to its other brands including Reeds Rains, Marsh & Parsons and a further nine estate agent firms, gives it’s a branch network of 505 branches.

July 31, 2018

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