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Guildford and Ringwood are to lose their saleroom status and operate as offices only – probably from smaller premises.

This follows in the wake of the closure, among others, of rooms in Gateshead, Retford, Glasgow, Cardiff and Sherborne over the past two years, bringing the number of Phillips’ UK salerooms down from a high of over 20 to just 10.

The shift from salerooms to offices is in keeping with the company’s stated aim of consolidating provincial sales in about half a dozen major salerooms while conducting the remaining regional business, such as dealing with consignments, from offices instead.

The programme was announced after new owners felt that it did not make economic sense to retain considerable capital tied up in provincial properties – Phillips owned many if not all of their regional freeholds – particularly as the size of some provincial rooms made it difficult for them to turn a profit. The company continues to operate from four additional venues used in their Fine Sales in Fine Places programme.