The former chief executive of estate agent Countrywide has launched an attack on his old company following the publication of its half-year figures.
In these figures, it was revealed that Britain’s largest estate agency by revenue had recorded a 9% dip in half-year earnings. Countrywide blamed the uncertainty brought about by the general election as the largest reason for the drop.
Previous chief executive of the firm Harry Hill took to Twitter to air his views on the findings: – ‘once upon a time Countrywide had about 10% of the UK home sales market. Now it appears to have less than half that and still going backwards,’ he tweeted.
Over recent years, Mr Hill, founder of Rightmove, has been involved in the easyProperty online agency but resigned from the board last year. More recently, he has been affiliated with commercial property portal MoveHut and with conveyancing company In-Deed Online.
However, the current management at Countrywide has rebuffed Hill’s claims. Similarly, senior figures in the firm have not been concerned that the company’s share price dipped by around 6% yesterday.
Ex-Countrywide boss attacks company
Alison Platt, current chief executive at Countrywide, said, ‘the first half of the year saw depressed activity in the UK residential sales market as UK consumers held back from making decisions pending the outcome of the most uncertain General Election in a generation. However, the benefits of our strategy to diversify the Group’s revenue streams were underlined by Countrywide’s ability to ride those challenges with 50 per cent of our profits derived from sources independent of the UK housing transaction market.’
‘Particularly pleasing has been our ability to show resilience through a tough market and at the same time to make strong headway in implementing our Building our Future strategy. Our focus for the strategy is on growth and building a business which is bigger, because it is better,’ she added.
More support came from Jeffrey’s, the financial analytical consultancy, who described them as short-term pain which will be worth it in the long term.
A report from Jeffrey’s stated, ‘the size of the prize is a target to double the size of the business by 2020.’
‘The easy path would have been to run the Group for cash and tweak rather than revamp the strategy. However the Group believes that the UK residential market offers many exciting opportunities from increasing consumer estate agency and lettings market share to capitalizing on the opportunities in the institutional Private Rented Sector and B2B markets,’ the report added.