Purplebricks returns to ‘commisery’ as share price plunges 17% in a week

Purplebricks sprung a major surprise yesterday when the online estate agency announced plans to relaunch its controversial and highly unpopular ‘commisery’ campaign that caused industry anger six years ago.

Having pledged in more recent years not to return to the original campaign created, as the company tried to improve its image, the online estate agency has now relaunched its infamous ‘save yourself from commisery’ moments as part of its new advertising initiative.

The new adverts call for vendors to instruct Purplebricks rather than a traditional high-street estate agency that only charges sellers commission if they successful complete on a property deal.

The national TV and Radio spots parody the traditional estate agent pitch, showing how the joy felt on completion can suddenly turn to commisery for spending more than Purplebricks would charge.

This claim made by the online agency comes despite a decision in July to increase its pricing and scrap its money back guarantee. The standard package rose from £999 to £1,199.

The pro Package increased from £1,399 to £1,599.

The higher priced regions Classic Package jumped from 1,499 to £1,999.

The higher priced regions Pro Package shot up from £1,999 to £2,499

Purplebricks’ chief executive officer, Helena Marston, described the price increase as “a necessary step, not just to strengthen our revenues, but also as a result of the additional costs our business has had to absorb over the past few years”.

The delayed full year accounts for the high profile, but troubled, agency business of Purplebricks, published last month, revealed that the company is under pressure from a serious downturn in instruction levels.

The accounts showed that revenues were down to £70m from £90m in 2021,

Gross profit down 27% from £57.7m to £42.1m

Adjusted EBITDA is minus £8.8m and the overall loss from total operations is £42m. This contrasts with a profit of £6.8m in 2021.

Total fee income was £63m, down 28% on 2021 and instruction level was 40,141 units, down 31% from 2021.

Average revenue per instruction remained almost static at £1,568, compared to £1501 last year.

Cash balance stand at £43.2m, down from £74m in 2021.

To add, an activist investor, who owns just over 4% of the business, continues to vocally call for its chairman, Paul Pindar, to be removed.

Purplebricks share price dropped to just over 14.48p yesterday, down 16.7% week-on-week, and a very long way from the heady days of 2017 when it reached an all-time high of 525p.

Recent regulatory failings have had a negative impact on the business and pushed its share price to new lows.

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. AndSotheStoryBegan

    The Blind leading the Blind.

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  2. Mike Bidwell

    ‘Commisery’? how about splitting this vomit of a slogan into two and swapping the last letter of the first word for something more appropriate?
    I still don’t get how someone would pay for a job up front not knowing whether the job will be completed and even if it is when it’s a complete pigs ear but that’s all part of the sting isn’t it?

    One of the many upsides of a more challenging market is that clients will value genuine expertise and care and the tougher it gets, the quicker we will see the back of these leeches – including the even more disgusting Strike.

    As a mark of respect and consideration to the many thousands of people who have been the naive victims of these companies, I trust that the property profession will never forget those individuals who have profited from these and similar models (including those that tried) and treat them with the disdain they deserve – and there’s still one or two around in high profile places.

    We know who you are!

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  3. Another Agent

    Really??? When you have to blow the dust off an old ad campaign that was universally derided as awful, (and is not even relevant anymore with so many ‘me too’ companies), you’ve got to have grave concerns about those at top and their ability to steer or bale the sinking ship. This is comparable to the recent disastrous Liz Kwarteng decision to shackle the nation with unsustainable levels of debt, whilst lining the pockets of bankers and tory voters. The saying, you cannot polish a ‘t#*d’ rings loud and clear. They clearly have no ideas or no money to pay for a new campaign, or both. If they diverted those funds into actual service and product then they would not need to spend on reusing old tea bags. I wonder, is this their attempt at being green, by recycling old wares. This would be the only accolade it could achieve. Another reason not to turn on the telly:-0

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  4. NHGURU

    Sounds a bit desperate to me -a company wanting to find a way forward has no new ideas

     

     

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  5. NW Agent

    Desperate move by an ailing company.

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  6. jan-byers

    Seems to have touched a nerve LOL

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  7. WiltsAgent

    So this year only losing £600k every week instead of the £1 million they were losing every week last year. The only misery is for their long suffering shareholders and staff. Another 12 months of this and they won’t have enough to pay for the electric at head office.

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  8. Diogenes

    The killer line in Helen’s press release was ‘Purplebricks offers movers a way to sell where they can keep more money for themselves and avoid having their natural home-selling anxiety preyed upon’. Seriously? The fact is, it’s a naff advert and will further diminish cash reserves continuing the death of a thousand cuts. Few vendors have only one valuation, so it’s for we agents to educate them as to the con that is paying chunky upfront fees to a company with no motivation to actually provide any service at all.  

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  9. surrey1

    In these dark and troubling times, it’s good that PB can still give us a laugh.

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  10. Russell121

    In a lot of areas they aren’t even cheaper than traditional agents now, so if you want a DIY service you may as well use one of the pay nothing agents.

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  11. Neil Robinson

    The sign of an utterly crap agent is when the only way they can sell themselves is by offering “lower” fees.

    Let’s hope they’re a little more transparent this time on how those low fees are possible

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