Estate agency giant Your Move’s latest accounts reveal how the Covid pandemic cost the agency some £11.3 million in revenue during 2020.
The firm, which is now evenly split between directly-operated and franchised branches with 174 in total, turned over £40 million last year compared to £51.6 million the year before.
Your Move says this drop, which includes a £5 million reduction in property sales revenue and a £3 million reduction in lettings revenue, is mostly due to the property market shut-down last year during the crucial Spring market, as well as its smaller network of branches following the recent restructure.
Helen Buck, Executive Director of Estate Agency, tell The Neg: “During the seven-week lockdown period from 23rd March to 11th May, all the LSL estate agency brands including Your Move, saw a significant impact on income, especially residential sales.
“We spent the lock down period preparing for the re -opening up of the sector, and thanks to the hard work of our colleagues all branches were trading again by Monday May 18th following COVID safe ways of working. The strong sales market that followed the first national lockdown saw exceptionally strong second half results with Your Move gaining market share.”
In 2019 parent company LSL cut its overall branch count, including Reeds Rains and Your Move offices, from 404 to 280 as it sought to reduce costs significantly but keep most of its geographical coverage.
But the pandemic has not affected the company’s long-term profitability, it account reveal, although Your Move says it received £3.329 million in government furlough cash, along with a letter of support from its parent company LSL promising to help the estate agency through any further lockdowns until August next year.
The re-structure had one direct impact on its financials – its wage bill reduced by £5 million a year following the restructure after the company dropped its head count by approximately 60, down to 939 staff.
This included a £500,000 drop in pay and benefits for its directors although its highest paid employee, believed to be the agency’s MD, Oliver Blake (pictured) – although this is not specified in the accounts – earned £361,000 last year.
In August parent company LSL reported a strong bounce-back from the dark months of 2020, revealing revenue up by 45% year-on-year to £166.5 million while profits jumped from £9.7 million to £27.3 million although these figures have been skewed by the market closure and multiple lockdowns last year.