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Countrywide takes Brexit hit with £218m losses

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Troubled estate agent Countrywide has said Brexit will knock their performance as the group posted full-year losses.

Countrywide are behind estate agents Hamptons and Bairstow Eves, the group reported bottom line losses of £218.2m in 2018 compared to £207.3m of losses the previous year.

The estate agent’s revenue fell by 7% to £627.1m, their adjusted earnings were 50% down at £32.7m.

Brexit has led to a slow-down in commercial and residential sales, mainly in London and the South, this has impacted on Countrywide’s first half earning, by up to £5m.

Peter Long the chief of Countrywide said, “We encountered market weakness in quarter four due to the further uncertainties surrounding Brexit which is affecting both our sector and consumer confidence as a whole. These headwinds have continued into 2019.

“As a result, we are experiencing further slow-down in residential and commercial property transactions particularly in London and the South, which will affect our half one earnings by some £3 to £5m.”

Founder and CEO of OkayLah.co.uk, Paul Telford said, “Countrywide’s 2018 financials make grim reading for their shareholders and management. The company continues to desperately charge home sellers an average of £3,000 a time to advertise in their dusty shop fronts and as a result, the internal business rot continues to grow with revenues and profits down heavily. 

“Their insistence on retaining 800+ branch offices that are rarely visited by anyone other than the staff ensures overhead costs in the region of £600m a year, a charge that is unnecessarily passed on to the public in the form of old fashioned, expensive fees. Of course, as house prices rise, their percentage-based fees increase still further despite service levels remaining static, or as some may argue, moving in the opposite direction.

It’s becoming very apparent that Countrywide, once the daddy of the industry and the darling of the city, will soon be heading the same way as the dodo.”




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