Listers Birmingham AudiListers Birmingham Audi


Car dealer Listers makes £40.5m profit – but warns fixed-price agency sales could hit earnings

  • 50-dealership group keeps profit and turnover broadly in line with year before
  • Directors pay out £10m dividend after notching up £40.5m profit 
  • Number of new and used car sales fall in the year ending March 2023

Time 9:13 am, August 23, 2023

Car dealer group Listers saw profits rise marginally to £40.5m in its latest results despite a drop in new and used car sales. 

Accounts for Listers Group Limited for the year ended March 2023 show that despite a fall in sales, the 50-site business still managed to perform in line with the previous year.

But in the annual report, directors issued a warning that agency sales could ‘reduce the group’s turnover and impact profitability’ in the future.

The accounts show turnover for 2023 was £1.29bn against £1.23bn the year before and profit before tax was up slightly to £40.5m from £39.3m. 

A dividend of £10m was paid during the 2023 financial year on top of a £15m dividend paid the year before.

Directors said the group’s Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Toyota and Volkswagen divisions made ‘the most significant contributions to group profit’.

The firm also represents BMW, Mini, Honda, Cupra, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Smart and Volvo and sells used cars under the Listers U brand.

Reporting on 2022, the directors said the number of cars sold decreased over the year by 7.3 per cent compared to 2021. New sales dropped 4.7 per cent and used car sales fell 10.8 per cent.

However, increases in the average sale price for both new and used vehicles – as well as a boost in aftersales turnover by 9.7 per cent – helped keep turnover broadly in line with the previous year.

Looking ahead to the changes the industry is facing with a move to fixed-price, agency agreements, the directors signalled an air of caution.

The firm said: ‘Certain motor vehicle manufacturers with which the company had or currently has franchise agreements have moved, or are considering moving, to agency agreements for the sale of new vehicles which will reduce the group’s turnover and potentially impact profitability. 

‘The potential impact is expected to vary between the agency sales models of different manufacturers and importers, depending on the levels of commission and the potential cost savings that can be achieved.’

On a more positive note, the firm said new car supply constraints were getting better as the semiconductor crisis and the shortages of components due to the war in Ukraine have eased. 

‘The directors are of the opinion that a lack of supply from one or more manufacturer or importer, whilst potentially detrimental to profits, would not materially affect the group overall, given the significant number of brands which the group represents and the global spread of those brands’ manufacturing operations,’ said the firm.

‘Disruptions to global supply chains in recent years have impacted the production of different brands of vehicles to varying degrees. The resulting constraints to the supply of new vehicles have eased during the year and the supply of new vehicles is expected to continue to improve in the foreseeable future.’

Listers was founded in 1979 when Terry and Keith Lister opened their first Audi and Volkswagen showroom in Coventry.

Last year, Listers was the 20th most profitable dealer group in the Car Dealer Top 100.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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