50 jobs lost as estate agency shuts branches in pre-pack deal

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More than 50 jobs have been lost after an estate agency collapsed into administration.

Only 18 jobs were saved in a pre-pack deal for part of Andrew Grant, a Worcester-based agency with six offices and 50 years of history.

The business had incurred “substantial trading losses” over the last two years. Restructuring took place last year but the closure of its offices because of the coronavirus lockdown meant it needed substantial additional funding to be able to continue to trade.

54 staff were made redundant and its high street offices in Worcester, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Ludlow and Stourbridge closed.

Diana Frangou and Guy Mander from RSM were appointed joint administrators, agreeing a deal with four of the existing management team including chief financial officer Joanna Monro, supported by independent investors Peter Bloomer and Scott Richardson Brown. Andrew Grant is assisting the new business as a consultant.

Although former managing partner Kristian Stott was named as a director of the new company on Companies House when it was created on June 3, he was not part of the team that completed the deal on June 19.

Frangou said: “Following a competitive sales process, we have managed to secure the ongoing and future operations of part of the Andrew Grant business, which is a long-established local brand in the marketplace.”

A pre-pack sale of the lettings and property management business and Andrew Grant brand to a new business, Andrew Grant Lettings, was completed with 18 staff retained.

Andrew Grant Sales – which has the same directors – has acquired the existing residential sales agreements and will continue to provide services to those customers.

In an email to customers, it sought to put a positive light on the changes, putting forward a “strategy to further strengthen and grow the business” that is focused on customer service without the large fixed cost base of a branch network.

It said: “The Covid crisis has forced a significant move to a more mobile, responsive and personal way of communicating which will be reflected in the new normal as we emerge from the current situation.

“We have reduced our high street footprint and have closed our offices, with a focus on placing local estate agents closer to you and your home, ready to serve you personally.”