Half year revenues fall at York-based house builder Persimmon as it focuses on improving customer service

A library image of a Persimmon Homes site. Picture: JPI Media
A library image of a Persimmon Homes site. Picture: JPI Media
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The new chief executive of York-based house builder Persimmon said the company was focused on improving customer service, as it saw revenues fall over the half year.

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Persimmon has announced its half year results for the six months ended June 30 2019.

Total group revenue for the period was 4.5 per cent lower at £1.754bn, while profit before tax was £509.3m, which is down from £516.3m in the same period the year before.

Commenting on the results; Dave Jenkinson, the group chief executive, said: “Improving the quality and service delivered to our customers remains our top priority and I am encouraged with the progress made in the first half, which clearly shows that Persimmon is changing.

"Our customer satisfaction ratings for the current HBF survey year are showing improvement and I am particularly pleased that, in July, Persimmon became the first housebuilder to introduce a retention scheme for customers placing us at the forefront of strengthened consumer rights for homebuyers.”

Mr Jenkinson said: “The improvements to our customer service approach had two main impacts in the period. First, customer service spend increased by c. 40% year on year and these additional initiatives are anticipated to increase our annual customer care costs by an estimated £15m.

"Second, and as noted earlier in the year, our decision to invest an additional c. £140m in work in progress as we held back some sites for later sales release to give customers more accurate moving-in dates reduced the group’s overall sales volumes. Allowing for these impacts, Persimmon’s trading in the first half of 2019 was strong.”

“I am proud of the commitment and dedication our teams have shown in supporting the many initiatives we have introduced to deliver a step change in our customers’ experience.”

“I am confident that the progress we are making with our initiatives, our strong forward build, healthy forward sales and robust balance sheet place Persimmon in a strong position for the second half.”

The company said a new independent team of construction quality inspectors is being introduced to strengthen its current assurance processes across each of it regional businesses.

Over the half year, 7,584 new homes were sold, compared with 8,072 in the first half of the year before. The total new home average selling price was £216,942, compared with £215,813 in the same period last year.