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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

More details emerge on Countrywide’s closure programme

Further details of Countrywide's closure and consolidation programme, first revealed by Estate Agent Today on Friday, have emerged over the weekend.

A series of claims about the programme have been made to EAT over the weekend from Countrywide staff. 

It has been alleged that the entire sales team, apart from one secretary, have voluntarily left Hetheringtons' Shenfield branch ahead of a rebrand to Bairstow Eves.

Meanwhile, it has also be alleged that the sales department of the South Woodford branch of Hetheringtons was due to close this weekend. 

There is also an allegation that the Loughton branch of John D Wood is set to be rebranded to Bairstow Eves at an undisclosed future date and, as a result, the branch's senior negotiator and branch manager have decided to leave.

Estate Agent Today has asked Countrywide for its comments.

Last week, we revealed that at least one Essex Countrywide branch is closing, while staff in seven other locations are reported to have been receiving offers of redundancy packages.

It has also been reported that Countrywide is looking to redeploy staff to other branches in some circumstances.

Meanwhile, one comment made under our story on Friday, alleged that three branches in Cornwall have already closed with at least two further closures planned in the region.

Countrywide has in recent weeks suffered further setbacks to its Back To Basics initiative, which was introduced in early 2018 to put more emphasis on branches.

In March the company issued a profits warning, saying that Brexit and the difficult housing market in London and the South of England would affect its profitability in the first half of 2019 by as much as £5 million.

The group’s share price has for some weeks been hovering around 6p, around 94% down in the past 12 months.

  • Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

    So Countrywide's strategy - 'we have no strategy' - continues; let the whole property industry watch as we unravel. Time for vision and action, but with the share price likely to be 100th of what it was 5-years ago, there is likely to be a major fire sale of any 'profit making' components of the brand. In some ways Countrywide echoes Woolworths and other companies that woke up to find that the world had moved on and they had become a relic of the past. Just because the way business is conducted is ever changing, this should be seen as an opportunity, rather than an annoyance. Burying ones corporate head collectively in the sand, rather than confronting change and planning future growth is the top sin of many companies. Many will be watching Countrywide's demise with shock, but, the real shock may be that their own businesses are also more like Woolworths than businesses ready for trading in 2020, where clear vision - no pun intended - will separate profit and loss making concerns.

  • Ian Roberts

    I am an ex estate agent who worked for Your Move for 30 years and left about 2 years ago as senior management decisions became more and more erratic and things started to unravel. I can only wish staff at Countrywide the best over the next few months. You are not the problem, there are some excellent estate agents working for the various brands and you will be welcomed with open arms to many of your competitors, well respected for the training you have received and not doubted for your work ethic. Its a big world out there.

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    John D Wood rebranded to a Bairstow Eves? - Chalk and Cheese springs to mind.

  • JEFFREY PENNECK

    Bairstow Eves office in Westcliff on Sea closed 31st April and "moved to" their Southend on Sea branch. That means their Leigh on Sea, Shoeburyness and now Westcliff on Sea offices have closed over recent times. Shame for a business that I started my career with - They are another Woolworths - a great name once but no more - Why would anybody use them?

  • Paul Barrett

    Well I'm in Southend and tbh you don't need two offices in the locale.
    Apparently I'm in a Westcliff council ward yet I'm only 5 mins walk to Southend High St.
    There are simply too many LA.
    I've noticed properties up for sale when once they would be To Let.
    Peak Student Lettings has moved or amalgamated from Queens St.
    I was only in there a few months ago chewing the fat..Apparently everything was going swimmingly. ...................Apparently NOT!!!

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    When a company gets too big by acquiring a mass of existing companies then, rather than the benefit of economies of scale and best practice processes as you might hope, instead you get a huge admin and managerial overhead, a cost that has to be paid for by the agencies. They simply have far too many managers being managed by area managers, managed by regional managers, managed by national managers, being managed by international managers. All know best, all have a big staff, all have to be paid for on top of the usually tight structure that a small business has. They are huge but, in my opinion, they are also a hugely flawed model always seeking additional income streams.

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    You'll soon be able to buy the company for the same price as a mars bar. Embarrassing.
    I feel for the hard working staff, I imagine there's been no bonuses for years.

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    Looks like a good number of Clive Watkin branches have closed. A great independent agent that countrywide recently purchased and run into the ground. It’s all very well talking about share price etc but how many peoples lives have been destroyed by Countrywide poor management. Job loses, job security not to many mention many people I know who were sold the dream on fantastic employee share save schemes who have nothing to show and struggling to support their families. The company should be ashamed of what they have become. I worked there many of years ago and whilst the culture may have been wrong people staff were paid well if performed, had career profession and job security. I know for a fact everyone working there now have no loyalty to the company and have a very short term outlook on their job. If you treat employees bad they will treat their customers the same.

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