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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Strong trading update from Hunters, despite Norfolk troubles

National franchise giant Hunters has delivered a strong trading update, despite what it describes as 'challenging conditions'.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that 21 jobs have been lost as a nine-branch Hunters franchise in Norfolk has been placed into voluntary liquidation.

Kudos Residential, trading as Hunters since 2015, has closed eight branches and insolvency firm Price Bailey has been called in to manage the liquidation process.

The franchise agency, which was co-founded by Thirsk and Malton's Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake, reported to the Alternative Investment Market yesterday morning that it increased network income by 9.8% to £38.9 million during 2017. This is up from £35.4 million in 2016.

It also reported that during 2017 it added 37 new branches to its network, bringing its total to 213. However, this number will be slightly lower when the East Anglia closures are taken into account.

Hunters says its expects 2018 to be another challenging year, but it is still planning to expand its branch network further.

It says that market conditions mean smaller independent agents will continue to look to become part of larger groups thanks to cost reductions.

It cites the money franchisees can save through portal charges for Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.

“We are pleased with our performance and the progress we are making in adding high quality businesses to our network," says Glynis Frew, Hunters chief executive.

"Our organic growth is significantly stronger than our competitors and we are optimistic that this will lay the foundations for further growth.”

Hunters will soon provide its results for the year ended December 31 2017, which it says will be broadly in line with expectations.

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