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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Twelve new EweMove franchises added so far this year

Property Franchise Group - formerly known as Martin & Co - has announced that 12 EweMove franchises have been sold in the first quarter of this year. 

This is despite the two founders of the hybrid operation - David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd - surprising the industry last month by saying they were going to walk away from the agency, which had been bought by Martin & Co last year for £15m.

Early this year the pair announced cut-price up-front fees for existing traditional agents who wanted to become EweMove franchisees - the entry cost was £1,995 plus VAT. 

In its annual results released to the City this morning, PFG says 12 EweMove franchises were sold in quarter one - just one of a number of stand-out elements of the year, according to chief executive Ian Wilson. 

Other highlights included the number of tenanted managed lettings properties increased from 45,000 to 48,000 and the recruitment of 16 new franchisees nine for resales of existing territories and seven for new territories.

PFG has also commenced the roll out of financial services, with two thirds of offices  - excluding EweMove - now signed up and trained as introducers.

Over the year PFG - which embraces many well known agency brands such as CJ Hole, Ellis & Co, Martin & Co, Parkers and Whitegates, as well as EweMove - saw an increase in group revenue of 16 per cent to £8.3m, while operating profit rose 21 per cent to £3.5m. Pre-tax profit was £3.2m. 

"Our scalable multi-brand platform has resulted in the continued organic growth of our brands and enabled us to realise operational efficiencies” says Ian Wilson, chief executive officer of the Property Franchise Group.

"The year also saw us acquire EweMove, the on-line hybrid with a unique customer service proposition, which provides us with a strategically important foothold in the rapidly developing market for on-line lettings and estate agency services.

"Our multi-brand strategy, weighting towards lettings, together with our exposure to on-line through EweMove, leaves us well placed to grow our market share and continue to deliver returns for shareholders."

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