Countrywide in significant move to close, rebrand and merge branches

A number of Countrywide offices are to close.

We understand from sources that the overall number could be as high as 200.

Last night EYE asked Countrywide about this and a spokesperson categorically denied the figure, saying it was “way off”. However, we were not told what the numbers are.

We also asked whether or not it is correct that Gascoigne Pees, which operates in Greater London and the south-east, is to be rebranded to Hamptons.

Yesterday Graham Bell, managing director London, at Countrywide, confirmed to EYE limited changes in the capital, but we were given no other information across the rest of the network of the UK’s largest agent.

Bell said: “Our customers are at the heart of our Building our Future strategy.

“As part of this strategy, we regularly review our operating model to identify ways for our people to deliver a better service and drive long-term value by aligning our portfolio to growth.

“Within London, we are making some organisational changes across a small number of branches which will involve strategic branch consolidations, rebrands and closures. These changes enable us to have the right brand in the right location to service customers across all price points.

“Our aim is to create bigger, better and busier branches that are open for longer with a wider range of services for our customers, and an improved working environment for our people.”

Countrywide is due to make an interim announcement to the City next Thursday, July 28, meaning that it is now in a closed period before updating shareholders.

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27 Comments

  1. AndrewOverman

    I’d hate to lose the local Abbotts offices here. I enjoy watching the RightmoveIntel reports daily / weekly, to see whether they’ve reduced over 50% of their stock due to widely inflated initial valuations and a complete inability to attract clients based on service! In a challenging market, it’d be a shame to take away my five minutes of desktop fun as I enter work each day!

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  2. Robert May

    …. at 4pm the managers will come out of their offices and make sure all the  stock is pulled to the front of the shelves,  at 7pm all the properties that haven’t sold in the algorithmically calculated  profit optimised time frame will be reduced down to the sensible asking price suggested by the local independent agent 6 weeks ago.

    It does sound very Tesco doesn’t it?

     

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  3. MemyselfandI

    I can’t believe how they and they’re shareholders can’t see that they are just incredibly  bad at estate agency. It’s so plainly obvious. I bet each one of those offices they close was once thriving and they have driven them into the ground. They are the worst face of agency in the country and the sooner they go the better.

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  4. JWVW

    Can’t their PR people do better than this – its a load of old tripe (“Our customers are at the heart of our”….woes). Utterly shambolic.

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  5. Frown Please

    We need to expand buy us more offices.

    Damn we have no money. Get rid of ’em.

     

     

    P.S what is going on? Grand total of like 10 comments yesterday. Upset everyone?

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    1. Robert May

      The posting etiquette story at the beginning of the month attracted a comment attacking the regular contributors,  it was followed up on the Saturday by a dig at  one of the loyal posters, consequently the enthusiasm to post and support Eye  has been hit hard.

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    2. PeeBee

      ‘Disliking’ these comments (no doubt mine included) doesn’t make them irrelevant, untrue or make the reality go away.

      It does, however, prove the worth of the one pressing the button.

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  6. ARC

    They have just an office near me with no warning even the staff only found one week before!

    I think that the “retail” plan that their senior management (none of which have ever sold a house it must be added) is that they will have regional hubs with a small handful of satellite offices and an online only option as being trialed in the Midlands. Will it work doubtful as their basic estate agency practice is appalling. A lot of their area managers have also never sold a house coming across of the letting a business for example.

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  7. Eamonn

    An inside source told me that they are closing 50% of there south east London brand ( Mann) .   Keeping open only the  offfces that Do both sales and lettings.   They will be AmalgamatIng the staff to those locations and calling them hubs

    also some Mann locations that already do sales and lettings ie Bromley will be re branded to bairstow eves.

     

     

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  8. Robert May

    Looks like Andy Pipkin  is in the house, “don’t like it!”

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    1. Eamonn

      Off Meds?

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  9. surrey1

    Wonder what pearls of wisdom and encouragement CW area managers will be offering their staff as they report their FS leads on conference calls today? Feel for their staff (most of them) in what has evidently been a toxic working environment for some time.

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  10. Property Peep

    But what will all the staff do who moved from Phones 4 U into the Countrywide offices when they close ?

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  11. nevets56

    Their working practices have a shelf life as do their staff and the loser is the client and the industry

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  12. Chri Wood

    CW method of working is well known in the industry and the public will be better off were they to close entirely however; there are many good people working for these firms trying to earn an honest living and I wish them well at what is an unsettling and worrying time for them.

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    1. AndrewOverman

      Entirely echo these sentiments Chris, I also happen to be recruiting. Any disgruntled Abbotts staff local to me (Attleborough, Watton, bury st Edmunds, Dereham) looking to work for an ethical, forward thinking and progressive agency please look me up LinkedIn or email me.

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  13. Robert May

    The reason some people don’t use their real name when posting on Eye is their position within the profession, people with genuine and notable achievements rather than self proclaimed experts.  One of the apparently ‘not real’ people has a significant contribution to this story but has given up posting here, the debate  and community is much the poorer because of it.

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    1. mrharvey

      Smile?

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    2. Robert May

      Certainly Smile’s absence is very noticeable, he has been consistent and fair and has put a huge effort into making the comments section of Eye one of the few uncensored, un-spun resources our industry has.

       

       

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    3. AndrewOverman

      I use my real name Robert, but I’m no self proclaimed expert, just an ordinary guy working in the coal face.

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  14. LocalAgent201625

    Having worked for countrywide recently, they were discussing this almost 18 months ago and nothing happened. Regions were split up and one office within my region closed (it failed to make profit for the last few years).

     

    Countrywide at board level are run by people who actually haven’t sold a house, they treat you and the members of the public as a number and don’t care about anything other than profit. The fact they’re now at FTSE company says it all.

     

    If they had any brains at the top levels of the company they should and could dominate every market place they are in. They are also too big for their own good and have too many brands which are all run completely differently.

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  15. Alan Paske

    I’m sure  Bob Scarff must be  having a good laugh at this!

    I watched  as  Countrywide  acquired  the market-leading agent in Cambridge  which  had,  over  the  previous ten years been the  obvious choice if one wanted to sell in the  most expensive areas of the city and suburbs.  Their board presence has gone now , just over a  year after acquisition and the experienced staff who held  the business together are all doing their own thing elsewhere. Unfortunately, with the greatest respect to the current staff, they are not  what the local client base expect from the  brand name on display! Another long-lasting Cambridge brand acquired by Countrywide has already disappeared!

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    1. AndrewOverman

      Again Alan, echo those sentiments.

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  16. MrM07

    My own experience of CW is also very poor. Having worked for an excellent independent for 10 + years, last year we were purchased by Countrywide. Oh the promises made “Yes you will have a store refit” “Yes you can have new computers” “Yes you will benefit from our amazing intranet”  “Yes you will have access to all of the latest tools”

    ha ha The only one of that lot which was half true was that we had access to a lot of new tools!

    Since our change the whole management of CW has been in a perpetual state of flux, they haven’t a clue whats going on, our own Management has been hamstrung by typical corporate bureaucracy & morale is at an all time low.

    Fair play, it seems that within 12 months of buying us they have managed to do what the recession couldn’t.

    Our competitors are extremely happy to see the #1 Agent fall off the face of the planet.

    It was also extremely telling that within a week of brexit they had told our senior management no more spending, no more recruiting, no new offices as promised.

    I can see that any decisions made are not to improve things for our customers, merely to improve profit margins.

     

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  17. citywise23

    Again the media jump on a rumor, and love to hype everything up, again sticking the knife in to whats become an easy target. God MOVE ON to some good news.

     

     

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  18. Herb

    At least their letting arm will buy indies business then the indies can get it back for free after 3 years

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  19. rsvstu97

    I’ve seen the best and the worst of CW. Albeit 12 years ago. I was made FSD when they spent £14 million buying Palmer Snell. The ‘Senior’ management promptly set about destroying the business. What a waste of money. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

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