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Hatched to close as Connells says online model ‘not sustainable’

Online estate agency Hatched will be closing to all new business with immediate effect, Connells Group has just announced.

The decision underlines Connells Group’s belief that the ‘online-only’/hybrid business model is fundamentally flawed and affirms the Group’s absolute commitment to its high street estate agency operation.
Connells Group will seek to retain and redeploy all Hatched employees elsewhere within its business.David Plumtree, Connells Group Estate Agency chief executive, said: “Significant resource has been poured into Hatched over the last three years. “We have thoroughly tested the hybrid model and have reached the conclusion that it does not produce a viable economic result – evidenced by the results of those operating in this sector – and with the cost of customer acquisition being one of the main barriers to being able to deliver a profitable return.

“There is much talk of ‘disruption’ from hybrid estate agents, but from our experience we have found it significantly lacking when compared with the level of customer service, support and expertise that our high street operations provide. “Ultimately, an upfront fee obligation – payable irrespective of whether a property sells or not – is not the right solution for the customer.