Embargoed for release at 07.00 hours, 5th May 2010
INTERIM MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
Rightmove plc ("Rightmove"), the UK's number one property website today
publishes its Interim Management Statement for the period from 1st January 2010
to 30th April 2010.
Four months into the year the business is trading in line with the strong start
* Website usage by home hunters continues to set new records. March was our
busiest month ever and 6th April (the first working day after Easter) was
the busiest day ever on the Rightmove.co.uk website
* The overall number of advertisers is up 1% since December 2009. We have
seen growth in the number of estate agents and overseas advertisers,
however there has been a decline in the number of new homes developments
* Price rises for 2010 were implemented during the first four months of the
year and were accepted by virtually all advertisers
* Average Revenue per Advertiser (ARPA) has grown strongly, matching our
aspiration of achieving an increase in the region of 20% by April as
compared to the 2009 average. Adoption of additional products has also been
strong with over 55% of agents and new homes developers now taking at least
one additional product and 20% of their spend is on additional advertising
Activity levels on the website
Page impressions on the Rightmove.co.uk website during the first four months
were up 30% on the same period a year ago at over 2.6 billion and March was our
busiest month ever for site traffic.
Rightmove's market share among the top property websites is 83%* for the first
four months, up from the average of 81% for 2009. January's successful TV
advertising campaign was repeated in April, with the Rightmove Apple iPhone
application being featured in Apple's own TV advertising campaign for much of
the intervening period.
Paid site traffic, at only 0.1% of total visits to the site, is negligible
showing the ongoing strength of Rightmove's brand recognition and further
success in optimising our organic search performance.
Rightmove estate agency membership has grown during the first four months of
2010 and stands at 10,900, up 5% on the end of 2009. Our fourth and fifth
largest estate agency customers have renewed their contracts, with the next
significant contract renewal in April 2011.
ARPA in the first four months is up substantially compared to the same period
in 2009 as a result of prices rises and sales of additional advertising
products including the new display advertising products. A large number of
estate agents have chosen to take a bundle of advertising products as an
alternative to the price rise. We now have 25% of independent estate agents
spending at or above £525 per office per month.
Sales of lettings only memberships have been healthy in the first four months
of 2010, however this has been offset by a similar number of lettings only
agents leaving the industry. ARPA growth has been very strong as a result of
price rises. An encouraging trend is the number of lettings only agents
returning to the estate agency market, which in many cases they had exited in
2008, and upgrading their Rightmove membership accordingly. These agents are
therefore included in estate agency membership numbers and as a result lettings
only membership stands at 3,650, down by 100.
The number of developments coming on to Rightmove continues to be low. As a
result new homes development numbers on the site fell during the first four
months of the year by 300 to 2,800. ARPA has continued to grow strongly as a
result of price rises and sales of additional advertising products.
Our overseas homes advertising business continues to transition towards being a
more private advertiser dominated proposition rather than being solely for
agents. As a result the number of advertisers has grown significantly, although
the ARPA is down compared to 2009.
Holiday Lettings has experienced a strong start to the year with new advertiser
and renewal prices around 25% higher than a year ago. Renewal rates have
strengthened since the middle of 2009 and are now running at similar levels to
a year ago. New sales volumes are slightly down on a year ago although overall
new sales revenues are higher as the result of the higher prices being
achieved. Page impressions to the Holidaylettings.co.uk website were up by 20%
in Q1 2010 on a year earlier.
Operating costs remain low and will most likely be slightly below the £31m
indicated at the Full Year Results.
Return of capital
Our final dividend for 2009 of 7p will be paid on 11th June 2010 to members on
the register on 14th May 2010. Share buy-backs were recommenced in April with
0.5m shares purchased at an average price of 670p during the month.
Given the positive results so far this year, coupled with the
subscription-based business model, the Board remains confident of meeting its
improved expectations as communicated at the Full Year Results.
Ed Williams (MD) or Nick McKittrick (FD), Rightmove plc 07894 255295
* percentage of all UK pages of the top four property websites as measured by
Hitwise, including www.aboutmyplace.co.uk and www.holidaylettings.co.uk.