LSL is to spend £15 million on a restructure of its Your Move and Reeds Rains businesses that will reduce the number of directly-operated branches from 308 to 144, it has revealed.
The shock announcement will see 43 branches closed with the loss of several hundred jobs, 40 sold off to franchisees and 81 merged together to create larger ‘keystone’ branches, reducing Your Move and Reeds Rains’ overall high street presence from 404 to 280.
Until now Your Move has claimed to be the ‘largest estate agent in the UK’, but the restructure is likely to put this claim in jeopardy.
LSL says it wants to improve the competitiveness of the two businesses, but says its other key brand, Marsh & Parsons, will continue unaltered.
The company has blamed the slimming down of the two chains indirectly on Brexit, saying that it continues “to remain cautious on the market outlook for 2019 given the continued uncertainty over the UK and global political environment and the potential impact on UK consumer confidence”.
“The ambition for these keystone branches is to create a platform that will benefit from their larger scale, enabling us to invest in people and technology with the aim of providing enhanced levels of service to our customers whilst ensuring operational performance is optimised by competing more effectively in local markets,” the company says.
LSL expects the restructure to significantly improve the two chains’ operating profit this year or next, although the company is also planning to spend £1 million on improving its IT and telephone systems.
“We are confident that LSL, with its market leading brands, broad portfolio of residential property services and the proactive measures announced today, remains well positioned,” it says.