Purplebricks' shares tank on sales downgrade, senior departures

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Shares in online estate agent Purplebricks plunged after the company slashed its sales forecast and announced the departure of two senior executives.

A short time ago, Purplebricks shares were down 28.5 per cent at 119p.

In a trading statement the London-listed company said it expects sales for the current financial year to be between £130m and £140m. Its earlier forecast was between £165m and £175m.

The online estate agent blamed a "challenging" UK housing market as well as "headwinds" for its Australian business.

Purplebricks also announced that the chief executives of the UK and US business will both be leaving the company.

The statement said that UK boss Lee Wainwright is leaving for "personal reasons". Wainright’s responsibilities will be taken on in the interim by Vic Darvey, Purplebricks' Group Chief Operating Officer, who only joined the business in January this year from MoneySuperMarket.com.

No reason was given for the departure of Eric Eckardt, the chief executive of the US business.

Macro and industry headwinds

"Although there are macro and industry headwinds across markets we are well placed to capitalise on the significant opportunity for growth that exists in each country, albeit not entirely as we would have wanted before our year end”, said Michael Bruce, the company’s overall CEO and co-founder.  

“The UK is leading the way with continued profitable growth and a strategy to deliver greater success. I am also excited to be taking the reins of the US business. The team in Australia are building on the changes they implemented late last year and Canada is delivering on plan and expectations. 

“The Board remains confident of the long-term growth potential of the business and the opportunity to deliver substantial value for shareholders”, he added.

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