14 May 2020
("Persimmon" or "the Group")
Persimmon is today providing a further update on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health, safety and wellbeing of the public and everyone who works on its sites and in its offices remains Persimmon's top priority, and the Group is continuing to adopt all UK Government and construction industry guidance on safe working procedures, as it progressively re-opens for business. In the weeks following 25 March 2020, when its construction sites were closed, the Group worked closely with its colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers to develop and test a range of new protocols to enable work to recommence safely, in anticipation of a potential return to its sites and its sales offices in due course. It is this work that is now enabling a swift and efficient restart.
The ability to recommence operations swiftly has been made possible by the Group's decision not to furlough staff and to continue to pay all colleagues in full throughout the shutdown period, without recourse to Government assistance. This has retained talent directly within the business and ensured operational continuity at site level, supporting both the introduction of new safer working methods and restart activity.
Re-commencement of on-site sales activities
The Group's sales teams have continued to work effectively and efficiently to serve new and existing customers, making use of online resources, including virtual viewings and digitalised reservation processes, over recent weeks.
The Group is pleased to announce that, following the publication of new guidance by the UK Government which took effect from 13 May 2020, it will reopen its sales offices in England on Friday 15 May 2020.
All sales offices and show homes will reopen with strict new social distancing and additional hygiene measures in place, which are fully compliant with the latest UK Government guidance. Initially, sales consultations will be on a pre-booked appointment basis only.
Progress of construction activity
As previously announced the Group began a phased return to work on its construction sites in England and Wales on 27 April 2020. This process continues to progress smoothly and to plan. During the week beginning 4 May 2020 c. 65% of production capacity had been restored.
The Group's businesses in Scotland remain in shutdown, pending further guidance on a restart timetable from the Scottish Government.
In the eight weeks ended 10 May 2020 the Group secured 1,351 gross private sales reservations, with a total of 1,300 legal completions being made in the same period. Cancellation levels remain in line with historic trends.
The Group is pleased to note that, working within the bounds of social distancing restrictions, it was able to complete activity to ensure that no customers were left in a vulnerable position through this period.
David Jenkinson, CEO, said: "We support the Government's view that the housing sector has a key role to play in the UK's economic recovery. The urgent need for new homes has not been diminished by COVID-19 and the new measures announced by the Government will re-open the housing market and allow people to get moving again. Our sales colleagues can now begin to return to site but staff and customer safety remains our first priority and we have put in place new protocols and training procedures to enable them to restart operations safely.
"Persimmon decided not to access any form of Government support during the shutdown period and has maintained its commitments to its colleagues and communities in full throughout. Now, as we re-start activity, this decision is also enabling us to get back to work swiftly and safely. Persimmon is open for business and we are looking forward to welcoming customers back to site and continuing to play our part in rebuilding Britain's economy."
This announcement contains inside information. The person responsible for arranging the release of this announcement on behalf of the Group is Tracy Davison, Company Secretary.
For further information, please contact:
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Simon Rigby / Kevin Smith / Jos Bieneman
Tel: +44 (0)20 7638 9571