Tough market pushes Countrywide into the red


Group also slashing around a third of its 450-strong central office team

Britain’s biggest listed estate agency, Countrywide, has plunged to a £212m loss amid “another disappointing year” for sales. Shares in troubled agency opened more than 20 per cent lower in the morning trading and were trading 8 per cent lower at noon.

Its 2017 adjusted Ebitda fell 22.5 per cent to £64.7m while group income fell almost 9 per cent to £671.9m. The group, which owns brands including Hamptons and Bridgfords, also announced that it was axing around a third of its 450-strong central office team as part of cost-cutting efforts.

Countrywide said: “The internal issues were further exacerbated by the tough 2016 comparatives owing to changes in the stamp duty regime and the uncertainty in consumer confidence as a result of UK’s decision to exit the European Union.”

Executive chairman Peter Long added that the group’s business “pipeline” for 2018 was significantly below its level at the same time last year and would “take time” to recover.

The results come after chief executive Alison Platt stepped down following a profit warning earlier this year.