Countrywide has continued to shut branches, with 23% of physical locations closed since 2016, new figures suggest.
The research found that there are currently 610 Countrywide branches, down 181 from 791 in January 2016.
According to the data presented to Property Industry Eye, 47% of Gascoigne Pees branches have closed, while Dixons and Abbots have seen 31% of branches close, followed by Bridgfords branches at 28%, and Taylors at 25%. Others have seen smaller losses.
Meanwhile, 24.3% of Countrywide departments have closed during the corresponding period, including estate agency, lettings, mortgage services, land and new homes, surveying, conveyancing and property management.
The figures, supplied by a source who has asked to remain anonymous, shows that the estate agency group currently has 930 departments, down from 1,228 in 2016.
Some 140 departments closed in 2019, while 76 departments have ceased operation so far this year.
The individual said that while branch closures were always in the pipeline “there was nothing planned on this scale”.
They added: “There is very little client overlap between many of Countrwide’s brands in a number of areas, and so by closing branches on this scale, the company is effectively reducing its chances of securing new instructions.”
EYE asked Countrywide to comment on the data presented to us, but a company spokesperson insisted that the estate agency group “does not report on branch numbers”.
The company spokesperson told EYE: “The reality is that there are always going to be branch closures, for a wide variety of reasons, such as leases not being renewed. We currently have former branches that are now being converted into blocks of flats, for instance.”
“While we are closing branches, we are opening branches too,” the spokesperson added. “Trading wise we are doing well.”
Countrywide later issued EYE with a statement that has also been shared with several other publications.
It states: “Our branches and our colleagues who work within them remain at the heart of our customer offering. As a responsible business we must constantly assess our branch footprint, the customers they serve and their profitability. We have recently agreed to opening new branches where the market opportunity exits. Sadly, due to the impact of Covid-19 and in particular the closure of the housing market during lock-down, we have had to make the difficult decision to close some branches. Wherever possible, we will seek to redeploy the teams and service our clients from branches close by.”