The chief executive of Countrywide says there’s “no change of course” after a 37 per cent slump in operating profits were announced by her company this morning.
In an interview with Estate Agent Today, Countrywide chief executive Alison Platt says the results did not come as a surprise.
“It’s inevitable that as we were undergoing such a huge reorganisation in the past year that some rival agents would take some share as we took our eye off the ball” she admits. The company handled 67,402 transactions in 2015, eight per cent fewer than in 2014, although it retained much of its share in the competitive London market.
“But detractors would be a little premature to assume this means there’s going to be a change of plan” Platt insists.
“You can either do this scale of reorganisation incrementally and feel the pain over some time, or you can do it in one operation and get it done, as we have. Now we can get on with business.”
Platt says an imminent announcement will be made about Countrywide’s acquisition of a substantial operator in the world of financial services - a sector which provided the company with some cheer in this morning’s results, as its activities grew by 18 per cent in 2015.
She has reaffirmed Countrywide’s intention to expand its lettings division. Announcements in the coming weeks are tipped to include the takeover of a significant sized city-based operator, in line with Countrywide’s desire to expand in urban areas.
Platt says Countrywide’s agency side has, in line with the rest of the industry, had a busy start to the year thanks to the surge of interest in buy to let and second home purchases ahead of the April 1 stamp duty surcharge deadline.
She feels demand may dip post-April, especially if uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum dents consumer confidence.