More Countrywide closures: Has your local branch closed?

Following on from this week’s report that more than 50 Countrywide branches have so far closed this year, a number of agents have contacted us requesting more information relating to the company’s closures.

Property Industry Eye recently revealed that almost a quarter of Countrywide branches have closed since 2016, while there are plans to potentially shut more offices in the near future.

According to the data, 47% of Gascoigne Pees branches have closed over the past four years, 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.

EYE asked Countrywide to comment on the figures, but a company spokesperson insisted that the estate agency group “does not report on branch numbers”.

Below is a list of branches closed between 2016 and 2020.

 

Countrywide branch closures – 2016 and 2019:

Abbotts, Gorleston

Austin & Wyatt, Bishops Waltham

Austin & Wyatt, Eastleigh

Austin & Wyatt, Highcliffe

Austin & Wyatt, Southbourne

Bairstow Eves, Bromley

Bairstow Eves, Canvey Island

Bairstow Eves, Colchester

Bairstow Eves, Colindale

Bairstow Eves, Dover

Bairstow Eves, Edgware

Bairstow Eves, Frinton on Sea

Bairstow Eves, Gidea Park

Bairstow Eves, Harrow

Bairstow Eves, Horncastle

Bairstow Eves, Louth

Bairstow Eves, Maldon

Bairstow Eves, New Barnet

Bairstow Eves, Nuneaton

Bairstow Eves, Perivale

Bairstow Eves, Potters Bar

Bairstow Eves, Skegness

Bairstow Eves, South Woodham Ferrers

Bairstow Eves, Streetly

Bairstow Eves, Strood

Bairstow Eves, Westcliff on Sea

Bairstow Eves, Wickford

Beresford Adams, Rhyl

Blundells, Dronfield

Bridgfords, Fearnhead

Bridgfords, Huddersfield

Bridgfords, Huddersfield

Bridgfords, Leigh

Bridgfords, Leyland

Bridgfords, Lowton

Bridgfords, Northwich

Bridgfords, Preston

Bridgfords, Pudsey

Bridgfords, Richmond, North Yorks

Bridgfords, South Shields

Bridgfords, Stretford

Bridgfords, Urmston

Bridgfords, Whitefield

Carson & Co, Basingstoke

Carson & Co, Bracknell

Carson & Co, Lightwater

Carson & Co, Yateley

Clive Watkin, Ellesmere Port

Country & Waterside, Mawnan Smith

Dixons, Bromsgrove

Dixons, Cannock

Dixons, Coventry

Dixons, Dudley

Dixons, Harborne

Entwistle Green, Chorley

Entwistle Green, Penwortham

Entwistle Green, Southport

Entwistle Green, Wigan

Frank Innes, Arnold

Frank Innes, Clarendon Park

Freeman Forman, Burwash

Freeman Forman, Ticehurst

Fulfords, Kingsbridge

Fulfords, South Petherton

Gascoigne Pees, Alton

Gascoigne Pees, Cobham

Gascoigne Pees, Cobha

Gascoigne Pees, Epsom

Gascoigne Pees, Haslemere

Gascoigne Pees, Midhurst

Gascoigne Pees, Richmond, Surrey

Geering and Colyer, Ashford

King & Chasemore, Brighton, Preston Park

King & Chasemore, Horley

King & Chasemore, Horsham

King & Chasemore, North Bersted

Miller Countrywide, Callington

Miller Countrywide, Liskeard

Miller Countrywide, Penryn

Morris Dibben, Hythe

Morris Dibben, Southsea

Morris Dibben, Stubbington

Palmer Snell, Bridgwater

Palmer Snell, Gillingham

Palmer Snell, Parkstone

Spencers, Oadby

Spencers, Oakham

Stratton Creber, Camborne

Stratton Creber, Falmouth

Stratton Creber, Penzance

Taylors, Banbury

Taylors, Emersons Green

Taylors, Huntingdon

Taylors, Kempston

Taylors, Kingston

Taylors, Letchworth

Taylors, Newport Pagnell

Taylors, Sandy

Taylors, St Neots

Taylors, St Neots

Taylors, Stanground

Tucker Gardner, Sawston

Watson Bull & Porter , Cowes

Watson Bull & Porter , Freshwater

Watson Bull & Porter , Ventnor

Wilson Peacock, Biggleswade

Wilson Peacock, Letchworth

Woods Estate Agents, Yate

Abbotts, Hornchurch

Abbotts, Loughton

Abbotts, Romford

Alan de Maid, Petts Wood

Austin & Wyatt, Salisbury

Bairstow Eves, Chadwell Heath

Bairstow Eves, Goodmayes

Bairstow Eves, Hendon

Bairstow Eves, High Barnet

Bairstow Eves, Oldbury

Bairstow Eves, Upminster

Bairstow Eves, West Wickham

Beresford Adams, Rhyl

Bridgfords, Alsager

Bridgfords, Bolton

Bridgfords, Fulwood

Bridgfords, Holmes Chapel

Bridgfords, Jesmond

Bridgfords, Lymm

Bridgfords, South Shields

Bridgfords, Tynemouth

Bridgfords, Whitley Bay

Bridgfords, Woolston

Carson & Co, Maidenhead

Chappell & Matthews, Clifton Village

Countrywide Park Homes, Cambridge

Countrywide Residential Development, Esher

Entwistle Green, Cleveleys

Freeman Forman, Seaford

Fulfords, Okehampton

Gascoigne Pees, Banstead

Gascoigne Pees, East Sheen

Gascoigne Pees, Ewell

Gascoigne Pees, Ham

Gascoigne Pees, Hinchley Wood

Gascoigne Pees, Richmond

Hamptons, Barnes

Hamptons, Canford Cliffs

Hamptons, Mayfair West End

Hamptons, Walton-On-Thames

Hetheringtons, Buckhurst Hill

Hetheringtons, Cuffley

Hetheringtons, Mill Hill

Hetheringtons, North Chingford

Hetheringtons, Rickmansworth

Hetheringtons, Theydon Bois

John D Wood, Clapham

John D Wood, Islington

John D Wood, Islington

John D Wood, Ladbroke Grove

John D Wood, Shepherds Bush & Brook Green

Mann & Co, Bromley

Mann & Co, Eltham

Mann & Co, Orpington

Mann & Co, Purley

Mann & Co, Welling

Miller Countrywide, Mevagissey

Stratton Creber, Torpoint

Taylors, Banbury

Taylors, Letchworth – Lettings

 

List of branches closed in 2020:

Abbotts, Hellesdon, Norwich

Abbotts, Barkingside, Ilford

Abbotts, Taverham, Norwich

Abbotts, Swaffham

Abbotts, Halesworth

Abbotts, Norwich (Thorpe St Andrew)

Abbotts, Hadleigh

Austin & Wyatt, Southsea

Austin & Wyatt, Fareham

Austin & Wyatt, Park Gate, Southampton

Bairstow Eves, Waltham Cross

Bairstow Eves, Northolt  Bairstow Eves, Ravenshead, Nottingham

Bairstow Eves, Great Barr, Birmingham

Bairstow Eves, Chadwell Heath, Romford

Bairstow Eves, Benfleet

Bairstow Eves, Waltham Cross

Beresford Adams, Ruthin

Beresford Adams, Conwy

Beresford Adams, Abergele

Bridgfords, Prestbury, Macclesfield

Bridgfords, Hyde

Bridgfords, Wilmslow

Bridgfords, Gosforth

Carson & Co, Hook

Carson & Co, Fleet

Chappell & Matthews, Thornbury, Bristol

Chappell & Matthews, Chippenham

Clive Watkin, Bebington, Birkenhead

Clive Watkin, Willaston, Neston

Dixons, Sheldon, Birmingham

Dixons, Burntwood

Dixons, Hodge Hill, Birmingham

Dixons, Stourbridge

Entwistle Green, Rawtenstall

Entwistle Green, Runcorn

Frank Innes, Radcliffe-On-Trent,

Frank Innes, Beeston, Nottingham

Frank Innes, Uttoxeter

Fulfords, Teignmouth

Fulfords, Seaton

Fulfords, Sidmouth

Fulfords, Budleigh Salterton

Geering and Colyer, Faversham

John Francis, Morriston, Swansea

King & Chasemore, Felpham, Bognor Regis

King & Chasemore, Newhaven, Eastbourne

King & Chasemore, Crawley Down

Palmer Snell, Bridgwater

Palmer Snell, Bridport

Palmer Snell, Winton

Palmer Snell, Somerton

Palmer Snell, Wincanton,

Spencers, Hinckley

Spencers, Market Harborough

Spencers, Rugby

Taylors, Hemel Hempstead

Taylors, Brackley

Taylors, Hemel Hempstead

Taylors, Patchway

Taylors, Wellingborough

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28 Comments

  1. ADL

    It looks a lot but in most cases it’s been simply a case of moving a stand alone lettings business into a stand alone estate agents, this has mainly been done where the offices are located on the same high street.

    The business operates far less standalone businesses now which makes perfect sense to get more value out of one premises rather than pay twice for the same amount of revenue.

    Great news about the potential investors interested in CW, I hear a third private equity firm are now interested also and a new cash offer from Alchemy to rival Connells is on the cards. It’s a great move to ensure the company enters the largest recession in living memory without debt, millions of companies across the land would wish they could do the same I am sure.

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  2. Hillofwad71

    2015

     

    “There will be more acquisitions following that of Greene & Co.” Alison Platt

     

    Branch closures were always going to be the case for a company hoovering up brands on borrowed monies in an attempt to create “synergy” .

     

    A word bandied about no longer appearing in the CWD lexicon nor Alison Platts ” Better to be Bigger”

     

    That long list  of closures ,  indicating that synergy failed lamentably  with a huge debt overhang for the strategy

     

    However the latest list  is mainly  underperforming branches so although regrettable it’s difficult  to knock the fact that  they are being closed

     

    What is for certain as the old guard head off into  the sunset with their golden goodbyes and goldplated  pensions a lot more closures

     

    Last week  yet another raft of abortive costs inccurred by the BODS  following on from  an abortive merger with LSL and failed sale of LSH as the corporate action  with Alchemy  was stopped in its tracks by the arrival of Connells .

    Who knows how many closures that might involve?

     

    We also heard the BODS are now involved in court action against JPM seeking £10m for the loss in  value in LSH since his failure to complete last December

     

    Yet another fruitless action  likely to  resut in more abortive costs by a quick glance at his UK companies -empty shells

     

    The best excuse  yet the Dane who clearly had a crystal ball on COVID in December  when he was due to complete the purchase .

    Comedy Gold

    In a recent interview
    “Responding to questions by Danish publication Real Estate Watch about whether he had the finances to “undertake such a project, Moeller blamed the coronavirus pandemic for the deal’s collapse.
    “[The] calculation upon which the acquisition was based has changed significantly from the deal we originally signed in November 2019,” he said. ”
     

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  3. bestandfinal51

    I am always amazed that somebody at CW did not have the idea (sense) to rebrand all the branches across the country under one name. This would give the public a true sense of a national agency with a huge reach. Speak to most Jo/Joe publics of the world, they have no idea who Countrywide are. Connells are Connells pretty much everywhere, and their Sequence names all live within the same branding structure – to promote continuity and familiarity.

    Am I being too simplistic?

     

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    1. AlwaysAnAgent

      It’s a point well made. The multi brands date back to Harry H’s acquisition mission. But there’s a counter argument that the goodwill or value of a local brand name, in a local town, isn’t worth dropping in favour of a national brand.

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      1. LetsGo

        Local branding is obviously quite important for many of the brands CW bought. However they could of went with a “Brand Name, In partnership with Countrywide” approach perhaps?

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    2. Neil Robinson

      The big issue there is that in itself doesn’t work.

      Estate agency is first and foremost a “local people” business that lives and dies by its local reputation, and it doesn’t matter who’s name is above the door, if local people don’t see that brand as being someone they can trust to oversee their move, then brand simply doesn’t matter.

      In this day and age it’s for the branch managers to be true local professionals with local knowledge, and some skin in the game to ensure it works.

      McDonaldsisation simply does not work in estate agency.

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  4. surrey1

    Couple of those branches are still open albeit long since speculated on for how long. Somebody better tell the staff!

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  5. iainwhite87

    This is starting to feel like a witch hunt , We know the business has problems and has made some monumental errors , however rationalising the network seems wholly sensible to me .

    Most agents big or small many highly profitable are rationalising office networks as they re imagine their business structure and service delivery so as to to be fit for purpose in the modern world.

    If CWEA had strong dynamic leadership these closures and perhaps more would have happened by design rather than maybe being forced but they are inevitable and always were

    I for one hope they survive and or find a capable buyer .

    it seems these articles are starting to celebrate the decline of a once great institution in the same way the mass media peddles doom and  gloom for headlines.

     

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    1. bestandfinal51

      Agree fully iainwhite87. What ever happens with CW in the coming weeks, months and years, one thing is for sure,  many of our peers in the industry will unfortunatly be seeking new employment.

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      1. ADL

        And believe it or not CW have not furloughed any staff during the new furlough scheme – I know other agents, independent and other larger companies both have done.

        In addition, they are still actively advertising for new staff where required. Most agents are not.

        is this really a sign of a company in imminent risk of administration?

        No it isn’t.

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    2. Hira

      Agreed!

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  6. Probably Pork in the Pie

    “Business closes non profit making locations”  Its hardly news is it PIE?   An independent would certainly cease trading from a location if it didn’t provide a return, so why are you basing a corporate for doing the same.  This story does now feel a bit one sided, dare I say biased.  In fact the list isn’t even accurate, the office local to me is still trading.  This is sloppy journalism @marcdasilva .  From what I understand, the remainder now trades at a significant profit now the loss makers are gone.

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  7. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Strategist

    As an ex-employee of Countrywide Plc – Taylors – I worked there until 1989, I have watched the decimation of the 40 or so Taylors branches which sat inside the Countrywide brand, over the past 30 years and saw it very much as a barometer as to the fortunes of the whole of the company. Historically Taylors as a brand, was often number one in each of its towns or village areas, dominant in terms of sold and listed stock and level of fees charged for a job well done. The reason for the success was ‘clear, strong, management, core objectives, that came from the c-suite and everyone bought into it.’

    Just as a a non-performing sales office can be turned around in 6 weeks with a new manager who is on it, the slow death of Countrywide in my opinion is due to the c-suite, who in the last decade and a half lost the vision, lost control, and in the last five years have been waiting for a grown up to come and help them out. I greatly pity the extremely hardworking rank and file members of Countrywide who are now like passengers on a large bus, and the driver is very much asleep at the wheel, driving towards the precipice.

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    1. Bertie

      Well said.

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  8. The Godfather

    ….. in the “Post Ros” era, is this what counts as “journalism” ? How about showing a shred of humanity towards the hundreds of hard working people across the Country that have either lost their jobs or wake up every day fearing that today is the day when they might ….

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    1. Hillofwad71

      Yes The brands  very quiet within   CWD about  the treatment by the BODS  .Their  careers  threatened  by   grotesque misamangement  by the BODS .
      Tossed around like a bag of spuds  .
       
      You would have thought some of the senior execs  amongst the Brands  would have grown a pair  and  put  their heads above the parapet  and voiced their concerns
       
      Nothing -nada  seemingly a bunch of journeymen and women  

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  9. AgencyInsider

    Whilst some of the CW brands have local resonance the reality is that a single national brand would ultimately have been a better strategy. Just look at how quickly Purplebricks went from nowhere to being nationally recognised. One brand. One message.

    Fact is, if you said ‘Who is Countrywide?’ very few people outside the industry would know. Even without the Platt debacle CW has orchestrated its own weakness.

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    1. Probably Pork in the Pie

      Not sure history would agree with you AI.  National brands don’t always work well, it apparently cost the Prudential £340m.  Purplebricks fortunes are very much underpinned by Axel’s massive marketing spend.  When that well runs dry, its anyones guess.

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  10. 40yearvetran08

    Countrywide generally purchased great brands with great staff who were on the whole well managed by strong teams. Unless you are an online operator Estate Agency is about being local and the most important part of that are the staff in the offices. Get back to basics, let the sales staff sell. Do not load them up with bureaucracy but make life easier for them and rather than keep telling them what they are not doing help them do what they do well. The brands they purchased were respected within the areas they operated, I am not sure a rebrand to one name would be helpful unless that brand was such a strong name associated with estate agency in its own right. All those great names that were sold in the 1980’s that became GA Property Services or Prudential. Everyone new who the Pru were but it did not help when it came to selling houses.

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    1. hodge

      I was part of pro property as its top mortgage advisor . The issue was not repeat not at the top but at Director level who swanned around with head office pay deals in their pockets and changing cars more often than I change my footsteps while walking.

      The guys in the branches by and large were good and turnover per Branch was good. Expenses were stratospheric.

      Its what happens when you spend someone else’s money.

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  11. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Strategist

    To quote Mr Wallace ‘estate agency is a national cottage industry’ and that is why 80% of agents are not corporates, but locals who for decades are ingrained into the local fabric of the community. A name change for CW is not the answer, to let corporate branches have good teams with managers allowed to flourish is an answer. The name above the door is not important, the names of the people inside the door are and how motivated and skilled they are.

    Another problem of agency is that 40% of personnel change their job every 18 months, it could be a higher role, or leaving a company, or setting up, but the dynamic is that agency is full of dysfunctional, crazy, hard working people and to keep them long term in a corporate is a very tall order. Many who leave set up independent agencies which dominate their former corporate counterparts.

     

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  12. Marleyandme

    You’re missing Abbotts Unthank Road, NR2, That also closed – circa 2017

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    1. onwards&upwards

      ….and Abbotts Bungay, Dereham, Wickham Market, Debenham, Woodbridge, all late 2016

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      1. bobscarff

        ….. ooh, don’t forget the branch in Fishponds, Bristol that I closed eighteen years ago !!

        For heaven’s sake onwards&upwards, get over your self ….

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  13. Hillofwad71

    “The name above the door is not important, the names of the people inside the door are and how motivated and skilled they are.”

     

    Surely they  go hand in hand  if Gazump & Gazunder have a bad reputation  no matter how good the manager  “Mr  Exemplarneg” is

    instructions are not good to arrive thru  the door

     

     

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  14. majortom1

    What a desperately sad time for all the teams at these branches who now find themselves either out of work or transported into unfamiliar locations miles away.

     

    The advice surely  for any CWD employee surely  is to make a proactive move now and secure a new position before the new owners of the business ( who ever that may be)  initiates further cleansing of the old CWD branches/employees-especially those in under performing branches and those in mid to upper management positions.

    I sincerely hope all CWD employees are OK and continue to work within our great industry-there are some good opportunities out there but only so many to go round.

     

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  15. hodge

    I have said before that this is criminal. I was part of Black Horse after Pru days and looked after the FS in Geering and Colyer and Gascoigne pees. G&C had 2 very poor advisors in place in 23 offices and Gascoigne had a few cherry pickers in situ.

    The GPees were incredibly successful and million pound branches were commonplace.

    I think it was Cobham that banked 110k in one month. bearing in mind property prices in late 80s.

    Whilst Alison had plenty to do with its downfall, I think the rot set in prior with the appointment of Turner who as aBDM head in Lloyds Bank had zero experience and apparently met Harry in the stock exchange (what would a BDM be doing there) True or not he had little time for the business and appointed Alison who he knows from the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

    But between all that we had a newly appointed MD In King And Chasemore from FS removed because he was not an agent and replaced with a guy from Freeman Forman who had inherited a poor performing agency and kept it there.

    At the same time a Assistant Divisional FS guy with no track record was offering guarantees of 40K for a ex pro footballer who thought he was to become a roving Ambassador.!

    Good MDs were hounded with “you have exceeded your mandate” whilst being profitable for umpteen years. You get the picture

    He is now the main man on the south coast and probably covers many of these offices that have closed.

    Countrywide should be approaching the landlords for a 3 month rent holiday with a sweetner of 1 month at the end of the lease.

    680 branches at an average of 18K rent would give them some breathing space and a clear out of management would help.

    The problem is however of who that leader is going to be.

    Who is left in the Industry who is tough, fair and visionary.  Lots of nice people but not many tough ones and it will need someone to review and really focus on underperformance sharpish.

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  16. psychodrama04

    As others have noted this is lazy journalism and looks as though C’wide is the only show in town when it comes to branch closures.

    Will we be seeing a detailed list of all the branches your friend Paul Smith has closed down in the last 5 years in The Eye next week?

    Or how about the Arun Group who have closed a fair few of their branches in the past month without you noticing?

    It’s all getting a bit boring now.

    How about a positive story or two for a change?

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