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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Foxtons claims over £4m of government help - trading statement

A trading statement from Foxtons this morning reveals that 85 per cent of staff are now off furlough, and that the company has claimed over £4m in government assistance.

However, the pandemic means the agency’s revenue for the first half of 2020 has taken a big hit.

Group revenue declined by 22 per cent to £40.4m - in the first half of 2019 it was £51.8m.

Lettings revenue - a saviour for Foxtons in the past - was down 21 per cent to £25.7m and sales revenue was £11.1m, down a whopping 28 per cent.

The agency says some 85 per cent of its staff are now working again and its branch network has reopened; £3.8m of wages were claimed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, passed through to furloughed employees, and £1m of other government support has been claimed.

The announcement this morning to shareholders notes: “The flexibility and adaptability of our business model combined with our strong lettings and sales infrastructure ensures we are well-placed to capitalise as the London market recovers; digital developments such as over 2,500 virtual viewings launched during lockdown and a 85 per cent increase in 'My Foxtons' portal traffic demonstrates the power of our digital service model, safeguarding future growth opportunities.”

Chief executive Nic Budden tells shareholders: "The management's rapid response to protect the business for the future with a range of measures, including our successful £22m capital raising, will ensure that we will emerge from this crisis with the capability and financial strength to thrive.

"Before lockdown we were seeing first signs of a recovery from the prolonged downturn in London, however the market has been profoundly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and it is still unclear what the long-term impact of the virus will be. There is a long road ahead, but we remain confident in London's resilience and ability to bounce back from this crisis as one of the most attractive property markets in the world.

"With the determined action that we have taken to ensure financial and operational flexibility, as well as ensuring the safety of our employees and customers, we remain confident that Foxtons is well-placed to capitalise as the market recovers. In such challenging times, we are committed to delivering the best results for our customers."

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    If you look at the hard reality of this and really examine the figures. The balance sheet is much stronger due to capital raising, and they've not had to pay the vast majority of their staff for months (they opened up too on June 1 with skeleton staff and most estate agency offices in the Capital went back mid May) - strange to many at the time they postponed until June 1 but actually preserves the balance sheet as still used the furlough scheme

    The figures to me are atrocious but the business has been failing for years to maintain its performance of yesteryear and you can't just blame this on this year's trading environment.

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