Barretts Honda Canterbury, Oct 2022Barretts Honda Canterbury, Oct 2022


Family-owned Barretts of Canterbury sees profit plummet by almost three-quarters

  • Barretts of Canterbury publishes its accounts for 2023
  • Turnover rises by 6% but pre-tax profit sinks by 73%
  • Used car margins and prices are cited as a factor
  • It also closed its Citroen and DS showrooms during the year

Time 10:35 am, June 10, 2024

New and used car dealership group Barretts of Canterbury saw its pre-tax profit tumble by nearly three-quarters last year after used car prices and margins fell.

In its newly published accounts for the year ended December 31, 2023, the Kent-based firm revealed that it made £1.4m versus £5.12m in 2022 – a 73% plunge – on turnover that rose by 6% from £261m to £276m.

Its Ebitda, meanwhile, suffered a 42% drop from £6.95m to £4.03m.

However, aftersales turnover rose from £50.1m to £56.1m – an increase of 12%.

It received £110,000 in unspecified government grants during the year, versus £205,000 the previous year.

Barretts, which has sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Hersden, shifted 2,540 new cars and 2,740 used (the latter excluding trade) – up 12% from 2,260 new but down 7% from 2,960 used the year before.

The Car Dealer Top 100 business currently holds the franchises for Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini, Honda and BMW, having decided last August to shut its Citroen and DS dealerships in Canterbury, ending a 20-year relationship with the brand. The premises are currently for sale.

The average monthly number of employees went up from 467 to 472.

Meanwhile, directors’ emoluments went down from £493,000 to £468,000, with the highest-paid director receiving £248,000, which was a £9,000 increase on 2022.

As with the previous year, the directors haven’t recommended paying a dividend.

The accompanying strategic report, signed on behalf of the board by director Paul Barrett, stated: ‘During the year, the company has seen a return to more normal trading conditions following the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘New car supply has improved markedly. This has, in turn, led to unit prices and margins on used cars falling from the exceptional levels seen in the Covid-impacted prior years as supply and demand have fallen into line.’

From January 19, 2024, Barretts Top Co became the immediate and ultimate parent company after it bought a majority shareholding in the company, financed by a £5.2m loan from Barretts of Canterbury.

Barretts Top Co is wholly owned by Paul Barrett.

Before then and during the financial year, there was no immediate or ultimate parent company. Paul Barrett remain the ultimate controlling party.

Barretts was cautiously optimistic for this year, saying: ‘The board expects current trading conditions to continue into the foreseeable future, but with the possibility of some improvement if the interest rates start to fall.’

Pictured via Google Street View is Barretts’ Honda showroom in Canterbury.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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