By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Countrywide brands and branches critical to success of new owners

The Skipton Building Society, which owns Connells estate agency, says the house-selling arm helped it reach a record profit pre-tax profit of £271.8m last year - a whopping rise over the £118.8m of the year before.

Much of the success was down to inheriting a huge number of brands and branches as part of its acquisition of Countrywide, and preserving them virtually intact.

Skipton says that its Connells team “delivered dividends totalling £60.0m to the society, improving its financial strength further” - the society says the strong housing market throughout last year helped it create a mortgage portfolio of over £23 billion and lending that accounts for two per cent of the UK market.


“The strong housing market, supported by low interest rates and competitive mortgage products, boosted by Stamp Duty Land Tax relief, has driven increased sales across the enlarged Connells group, and led to record mortgage completions by the society in excess of £5 billion, including record lending to first time buyers” says a statement.

Just over a year ago - and a highly influential element of Connells’ trading success in 2021 - Connells acquired Countrywide for £131.8m.

The Skipton says that “at 31 December 2021, Connells traded under 81 brands from 1,179 estate agency branches.” This compared to just 581 branches in 2020.

The Skipton tells its shareholders that “the acquisition has complemented the Connells group’s existing services, enhanced its value proposition for customers and benefitted consumers as a whole.”

It’s also given a ringing endorsement of the traditional house selling business model, saying: “Connells and the society continue to believe that a well-invested high street estate agency branch network, coupled with a diversified brand portfolio, will allow the combined business to provide an attractive offering to its customers, whilst providing further diversification to the group’s business model, and delivering enhanced returns over the medium and longer term.”

Skipton’s further details of the Countrywide acquisition are contained in its annual report, where it says:

“Exchanges were 175 per cent higher in the year compared to 2020, and 50% higher on a like-for-like basis excluding exchanges by Countrywide, as the Connells group capitalised on market conditions …

“ … The Connells group’s other income, namely fees and commissions receivable, increased by £624.4m to £1,000.1m for the year (2020: £375.7m), and the majority of the increase is attributable to Countrywide, where the results include ten months’ trading post-acquisition, coupled with the strong housing market in the year; 

“And Connells’ administrative expenses increased by £591.6m to £915.6m for the year (2020: £324.0m). The vast majority of this increase again is attributable to the acquisition of Countrywide, which doubled the size of the division.” 

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    The correct people in the C-suite, the correct culture, the correct plan and the ability to execute the plan, due to having a culture of success. But the biggest reason for success was keeping an eye on the KPI's and managing the basics, ensuring that each core sector of the business was accountable.

    Sadly the now defunct Countrywide plc, more than a decade ago lost its core vision, and failed to focus on the business, the culture, instead looking for 'new ways' to do what is basically a simple task, service the property sector, which has never been rocket science.

  • icon

    "C-suite, KPI's core vision,"
    How many cliches and corporate speak can someone get into a few lines.
    Connells CS are companies that employ children pay them peanuts and get hideous reviews.
    Huge staff turnover.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up