Major regional Hunters brand runs into difficulties with loss of all jobs

A large regional business has run into difficulties, it is said with the loss of all jobs.

Hunters in Norfolk is said to be no longer trading. The Hunters brand was operated by Kudos Residential.

It would mean that Hunters – the ambitious high street brand which has been growing strongly through franchising, and whose chairman and co-founder is Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake – has wiped out its presence in Norfolk.

According to the London Gazette, a creditors’ meeting of Kudos Residential is to be held on February 19. The notice describes the type of liquidation as ‘creditors’ voluntary’.

We asked Hunters for confirmation as to its franchisee plus information as to the number of staff affected in what are believed to have been eight branches. These include Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Hunters yesterday told us: “We are sorry to hear the news regarding Kudos Residential in the Norfolk area.

“The market has been difficult in certain parts of the country, as widely reported in the media.

“We understand the business is being assisted by WH Brown so customers’ contracts can be fulfilled.

“We have sympathy for the personal situations of those affected but are unable to confirm exact details at this moment in time.”

Kudos Residential rebranded its branches to Hunters in June 2015, bringing to the network a new territory.

Kudos was founded in 2009, and had “grown to become one of Norfolk’s estate agents”, according to a statement by Hunters at the time of the rebranding.

Kudos Residential director Brian Hutchinson said then that the business had grown organically and through acquisition.

Kudos Residential had been attracted to Hunters, he said, because of the national network proposition, particularly its reach within London with customers moving from London to buy in Norfolk.

One local agent told EYE that the current situation is a ‘nightmare’.

He said that Sequence brand William H Brown has now acquired the data but that local agents are scrabbling to pick up instructions.

Yesterday, the Norwich office of Hunters could not be contacted by phone. We have also tried to contact Brian Hutchinson.

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12 Comments

  1. J1

    Unfortunately they will not be the only ones

    The future successful agents will be the genuinely local ones who are invested in their communities

    Regional and corporate agents carry too much cost and have allowed fees to dip too low

    Better local service is what discerning clients really want; the rest will go to on-line sell it yourself models; leaving little room for the sausage machine Agents

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  2. craves69

    Unfortunately lots of good people are now without employment due to the mismanagement of the company, its a real shame!

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  3. PeeBee

    “…a spokesperson for Hunters yesterday told us: “We are sorry to hear the news regarding Kudos Residential…  We understand the business is being assisted by WH Brown so customers’ contracts can be fulfilled.”

    Sorry – WHAT??

    Doesn’t exactly read like the words of a franchisor with a finger on the pulse of its’ brand.

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    1. J1

      Surely they could have brought the on-going transactions in house?

      Not a great advert for the core franchise department

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    2. RedBryan96

      would be nice to see the level of support that was offered to the franchisee prior to this news?

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      1. PeeBee

        Looks like they got put in touch with WHB as a max…

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  4. Dom_P

    Feel for the staff involved and I hope they find alternative employment swiftly.

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  5. flockfollower102

    Unfortunately, like most franchisors, I suspect that Hunters were only really interested in how much money Kudos were going to pay them. For them to have ‘heard’ about the situation is really disgraceful and puts the whole franchise industry to shame. You have to wonder if the liquidation could have been avoided if they were not paying a percentage of their turnover to the franchisor? It will either be very big business, or small independents that are likely to flourish going forward, as whether we like it or not, fees will continue to be under pressure for the foreseeable future and costs will have to be carefully controlled.

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  6. GeorgeHammond78

    Sadly, I suspect it will emerge that the Franchisor’s apparent disinterest/desire to distance themselves is because they’ll be something not quite right!

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  7. Beano200062

    We have seen 3 agents shut up shop locally in recent months, not the big boys, nor the middle ones, but the small independents.

    Struggling to compete for limited instructions, more purple boards on the streets, and lower fee levels. Its easy to pile in with throwing fault at ‘mismanagement, something not quite right’ etc, etc. The fact is many good agents out there are struggling. Good companies and well managed companies also fail, there are a multitude of external factors that can lead to these outcomes.

    In this cyclical business of ours a big clear-out is ahead, there will be genuine victims as there always is.

    Right I’m off to top up on my Rightmove shares.

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  8. BALLY07

    I understand this was due to a large amount of income tax & VAT left unpaid by the directors, employees were receiving constant letters from HMRC as the directors informed the tax office that some of their employees were self employed. Atrocious management of a large business by the directors and terrible decision making promoting individuals with zero estate agency background as “branch managers”

    All in all, a poorly ran unit the owners should be ashamed of themselves! But this isn’t Mr Hutchinsons first failed business and I’m sure it wont be his last!

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  9. HITMAN32

    10% to francise.

    12% to Rightmove.

    8% to Zoopla.

    = 30% to none risk silent partners. 

    The future is FAILURE!

     

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