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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide share price dips as commercial sell-off revealed

Countrywide’s share price closed slightly down again yesterday to finish trading at 176.0 after news emerged that the group was selling its commercial arm, Lambert Smith Hampton.

Today is the last day of trading for Countrywide in the FTSE-250 which consists of the 101st to 350th largest companies trading on the London Stock Exchange. From next week it will trade as part of an index of smaller companies.

As we reported yesterday afternoon, property magazine Estates Gazette has now revealed that LSH - founded in 1773 but only a part of Countrywide since 2013 - would be sold in the new year with the transaction to be handled by Deloitte.

The sale will allow Countrywide to refocus purely on its residential business and to realise funds during a challenging trading period. In the summer around 60 residential offices were earmarked for closure; more closures are believed to have been announced to staff in recent weeks although Countrywide says it is not commenting while consultations continue.

Last month Countrywide told shareholders that it suffered a 29 per cent slump in London exchanges in the third quarter of the year compared to the same period of 2015, with a one per cent dip in exchanges across the rest of the country. It blamed high stamp duty and Brexit uncertainty.

“The slowdown in activity across the market in Q3 is clearly evident in the closing pipe-lines for our [out of London] Retail and London businesses, which at the end of September were down 16 per cent and 26 per cent respectively compared to a year earlier” said Countrywide at the time. 

Countrywide’s share price - which earlier this month dipped into the 160’s - hit a high of 686.0 in spring 2014.

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    The market isn't going to help them. Too few quality staff to take advantage of any increase in market activity. Barely enough people to keep the remaining branches (shops if you're retail) open, and EVERYONE below MS Tyrer looking to get out of this debacle as soon as they possibly can. Might even be that Mrs P and Ms T are putting their escape plans together from what I have heard from 'retail land'!!!!!!!!!

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    Oh dear, another brand tarnished, another few hundred hard working and talented people exposed by the incompetencies of Northern lass’s senior management team. When will this team understand they don’t own the intellectual wealth of the business, that is what makes agency unique.

    How to grab market share sits with the fee earners and quickly dissipates when you get rid of the experienced people who hold the knowledge. Strip out all the data from recent acquisitions in agency, lettings, and financial services and inspect those numbers and you will see the real impact made by this current exec. A shocking waning of market share in their traditional strong holds. Buy a business and let their key people leave, not a business model for success. Give agency to people who can only use a calculator is proving to be a disaster. Next plans are to bring Hamptons back to the north, where it failed spectacularly previously even though it was staffed by great people and run by agency professionals in Robin Paterson and co.

    Good luck to Alison and Jim on their next jaunt across to the US to find some more half-wits who think they know what they are talking about. Start at the Whitehouse, tell the tenant you’re scottish and like golf and maybe you might get some more dirty dollars to poor down the drain.

    Really sad for the great people at Countrywide who remain, have a Merry Christmas, think about a happy new year when you have found a new employer who appreciates, values and understands their business

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    Just to add Countrywide announced 3 days before Christmas they were cutting our profit share and all annual bonuses. They forgot to say due to the lack of knowledge and brain power of Allison Platt and Sam Tyrer. I have worked here for years and I am gobsmacked the board hasn't called for a vote of incompetency all regional managers and retail directors have no faith in them but are petrified to speak out as 40 of them were made redundant over the last two weeks. I don't know how to stop this or speak out honestly we all have families to feed. When you have people in charge at the top sitting on £800,00 pa doesn't matter to them.

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