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Purplebricks sales bounce back but swings to a loss

“We end the first half having now stabilised the business and the significant losses incurred last year have now been reversed with the group enjoying profitable trading," said the chief executive

Purplebricks -

Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP) put revenues back on track in the first half of the year with higher fees on house sales, but still swung to a loss as it shut up shop in the US and Australia to try and reverse its flagging fortunes.

In its half-year results on Thursday, the online estate agent reported 12.5% higher revenues of £64.8mln in the six months to the end of October, three quarters of which came from its UK division, and the rest from Canada.

READ: Purplebricks red faced as it pulls out of US amid growing losses

UK sales decreased 3% to £47.1mln due to the lowest number of properties coming onto the UK market in a decade as consumers adopted a “'risk off' mentality”, which it managed to offset with a 12% increase in average revenue per instruction to £1,353.

Overall, the company made an operating loss of £1.2mln, compared to a £4.8mln profit in the same period last year.

Back in July, Purplebricks announced it was beating an embarassing retreat from the USA, in addition to the previously announced withdrawal from Australia, as management focused on trying to disrupt the housing market in the UK and Canada.

At the time, chief executive Vic Darvey said the expansion in the US had required a significant investment in marketing but had not seen the revenue growth expected, so it would be closed down by the end of 2019.

“We end the first half having now stabilised the business and the significant losses incurred last year have now been reversed with the group enjoying profitable trading,” Darvey said in Thursday's announcement.

Shares were up 2.5% to 106.2p in early trading.

Quick facts: Purplebricks

Price: 103.1 GBX

AIM:PURP
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £316.32 m
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