Jeff McCartney, group operations director at Charles Hurst as of 23 Feb 2021Jeff McCartney, group operations director at Charles Hurst as of 23 Feb 2021


Car dealer Charles Hurst announces 100 job losses as brutal cuts continue at parent company Lookers

  • Lookers job cuts extend to Northern Ireland’s biggest dealer group, Charles Hurst
  • Around 100 employees are facing redundancy as part of wider cutbacks within Lookers
  • Source says its a ‘disgrace’ that people are being let go over Christmas after 40 years of service

Time 7:44 am, December 14, 2023

Dealer group Charles Hurst has announced that around 100 jobs are to be lost as part of major cuts at parent company Lookers.

Car Dealer reported earlier this week that around 650 employees at Lookers were facing redundancy after the group was taken private by Global Auto Holdings – the bidding vehicle of Canadian firm Alpha Auto Group.

It has now been revealed that the raft of redundancies is not limited only to Lookers, with the firm’s subsidiaries also being impacted.

Charles Hurst, the biggest dealer group in Northern Ireland, was acquired by Lookers back in 1996. It has eight sites across the country and employs close to 900 people.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that around 100 members of staff are set to be let go as part of the wider downsizing.

Teams were told of the news on Monday and are now facing the very real prospect of losing their jobs with Christmas less than two weeks away.

It is not known if the cuts are on top of those already announced to Car Dealer or fresh redundancies.

One impacted employee said: ‘We feel as if it is a disgrace in the way that we were told and the fact that we were told so close to Christmas.

‘People who have worked for the company for over 40 years have also been told that they are out the door.’

The latest round of job cuts comes just a week after hundreds of staff at Lookers’ head office were told they faced losing their jobs.

At the same time, CEO Mark Raban told employees he would also be leaving at the end of the year.

Bosses at the Car Dealer Top 100 firm said the majority of job losses at head office relate to Lookers no longer being a PLC following the takeover.

An employee at the firm’s HQ labelled the situation a ‘disgrace’ that had ‘left a very bitter taste for all employees’ after previously receiving assurances that nothing would change as a result of the Canadian takeover.

A spokesperson for Lookers told Car Dealer: ‘Last week, Lookers confirmed that a certain number of corporate and support roles that relate to its status as a listed company may be affected by a proposed programme now that the business is no longer listed on the London Stock Exchange.

‘We have now completed a detailed review of our business and operations in order to keep the business efficient and ensure we have a manageable cost base.

‘Unfortunately, a number of roles have been identified across our operations that are now at risk of redundancy.’

Lookers was taken private in a 130p per share deal this summer that saw the firm leave the stock market on October 9.

Global Auto Holdings had originally offered 120p a share but that was rejected by the largest shareholder Cinch. Global then came back with an offer of 130p a share, valuing the dealership chain at £504.2m. Cinch agreed to it and the deal was sealed.

This is the second time in just over three years that Lookers has slashed jobs. In June 2020, at the height of the pandemic, it cut 1,500 jobs – 20 per cent of its then workforce – and closed 12 dealerships in an effort to save costs.

Main image: Charles Hurst boss, Jeff McCartney

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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