Purplebricks is to sell or close its struggling US operation but will retain its presence in Canada.

The online estate agency has been hit by one setback after another in recent months, including the departure of founder and chief executive Michael Bruce, a plummeting share price of less than £1, and the ending of its disastrous foray into Australia.

A lot of the listed company’s problems have been linked to its performance in the US, where it has been burning cash.

Announcing its annual results to the London Stock Exchange, Purplebricks CEO Vic Darvey said both the Australian and US exits would be completed before the end of the year.

“We have taken the difficult decisions to exit our businesses in both Australia and the US as it is very important that we now focus our resources on the UK and Canada, where we have a strong established presence and where there are significant opportunities to grow market share and deliver profitable growth for shareholders,” he said.

“Both exits will be conducted in an orderly manner with the expectation they will be completed by the end of 2019."

Group revenue for the year ended 30th April climbed 55 per cent to £136.5 million but its annual operating loss almost doubled to £52.3m.

The Canadian business, acquired in July 2018, contributed revenue of £23.7m.

The company said it completed on £10.4 billion of UK property – compared with £9.7bn a year earlier – saving customers £77m in commission.

“It's been another year of strong revenue growth and we continue to build a highly relevant disruptive brand and defensible position in the market,” added Darvey.

“With a base of clear brand leadership in both the UK and Canada and a differentiated, technology-led proposition driving business model advantages, we now have a clear plan to unlock the next wave of growth and extend our market leadership.”