Foxtons Group plc has issued an update to the City on the evolving impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Company:
Approach to Branch Re-opening
Following the recent Government announcement on the re-opening of the housing market, the Company plans to start re-opening its branches over the course of this week, with all branches expected to open by 1 June 2020.
We will be bringing furloughed employees back to work on a gradual basis from the same date.
The safety and well-being of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to the Company.
We have undertaken comprehensive risk assessments at all of our branches as well as our head office in consultation with employee representatives.
Each of our workplaces has now been modified to be in line with recent guidance issued by both the government and Propertymark, the estate agency industry body.
The additional measures implemented in our branches include: social distancing procedures throughout; enhanced hygiene and office cleans; and, mandatory Covid-19 training for all employees to engage appropriately with customers.
Physical viewings and valuations will recommence over the same timeframe under tightly controlled conditions with social distancing in place.
Customers will be encouraged to view properties virtually in the first instance, and for any physical viewings to meet directly at the property. T
here will be a restriction on the number of people attending viewings with participants only able to attend if they confirm in advance they are not infected or displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
Foxtons agents will be using appropriate PPE including hand sanitiser, face coverings and gloves when visiting properties.
A number of employees will continue to work from home where it is possible to do so effectively.
The business has continued to support customers online and over the telephone since the lockdown period began.
Commissions earned in the eight weeks between Monday 23 March 2020 and Friday 15 May were down 44% on the prior year.
Lettings commissions have proven to be more resilient than sales commissions, down 40% and 61%, respectively.
Mortgage broking revenues were down 2%.
Following the successful completion of the share placing of equity capital on 17 April, the Company ended April with a net cash balance excluding lease liabilities of £37.1m.
It is still too early to predict what the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will be on Foxtons’ full year results.
There remains significant uncertainty over how long the London residential sales and lettings market will continue to be impacted by the pandemic.
Nonetheless, the Board is pleased with the resilience that the business has shown given such a disruptive backdrop.