Marshall’s performance significantly ahead of the marketplace in 2016

Time 11:13 am, March 15, 2017

MARSHALL Motor Holdings plc saw revenues increase by 54.1 per cent to £1.9bn during 2016, the company reported in its annual results out today.

Growth in aftersales revenues was the strongest, up 58.4 per cent, while new car sales remained healthy, with revenues up 54.2 per cent compared to 2015. Used cars were also well ahead with revenue growth of 56.4 per cent.

Underlying profit before tax was up by 60.4 per cent to £25.4m, compared to £15.4m in 2015, in the company’s figures for the 12 months to December 31.

Speaking to Car Dealer Magazine, CEO Daksh Gupta explained that Marshall had seen its sales continue to grow despite the market reporting a downturn towards the end of the year.

‘It’s the complete opposite to what the market did,’ he told us. ‘The market in H1 was up 3.2 per cent, in the second half post-Brexit it fell by 1.2 per cent so our performance was significantly ahead of the marketplace.

‘We’ve got some real momentum in the business and a lot of the investments we have made around training, operational improvements around technology, and sales executive recruitment are having a really positive effect on the business in terms of reducing our overall staff turnover.

‘We’ve got really good momentum in the business in terms of all of these things coming good and supporting the investment that we’ve made in recent years.’

Chief financial officer Mark Raban commented: ‘Actually the growth strengthened in the second half, which we’re really pleased about because that’s the first clear period post-Brexit but if you look at our like-for-like new units in particular, they have strengthened.

‘So we outperformed the market in the first half, that’s clear, and our level of outperformance in the second half actually increased. I’ve got to say we’re quite pleased about that.’

Gupta explained that the group enjoyed strong organic growth throughout 2016 but also a full year of trading since the acquisition of SG Smith and seven months of ownership of Ridgeway Group. The group has now completed three new flagship Jaguar Land Rover dealerships too.

He also credited this growth to changes implemented, which have now been fully integrated into the business.

‘We’ve had a number of initiatives that we’ve been doing throughout the year. We’ve launched a new website, we’ve also managed to secure the trading name and that’s the name that people are far more familiar with in terms of our organisation. I think that’s helped drive more inquiries into the business,’ said Gupta.

‘We’ve also put significant investment into our social media channels. In fact, that’s something you well know as you named us most influential dealer group on Twitter and that has paid dividends for us! Customers are spending more and more time researching through social media channels, so I think we got real momentum from that.’

He continued: ‘We’ve invested in our technology and in-house system, launching its second iteration. The other thing that has worked really well is our in-house inquiry management system, which we began rolling out two years ago.

‘That completed last year and what that’s helping us do is offer a better customer experience because it speeds up the process compared to a traditional paper-based system.’

Aftersales was a huge area of growth for Marshall during 2016 and Raban explained that this would continue to be an important focus for the group.

He explained: ‘Aftersales is really important for us, because if you look at contribution of gross profit it really is significant part of the business. I think the good thing for us is when you look at our new unit sales over the last couple of years and how we’ve been driving them forward, it’s really been building and improving our aftersales car parc.

‘So all of those customers should be coming back into our aftersales business. There’s that dynamic but we have been doing a lot and looking at driving efficiency, putting in a capacity where we can and looking at where we’ve got potential cross-selling opportunities. It’s a real focus for us and it will continue to be moving forward.’

MORE: Marshall CEO Daksh Gupta predicts car market could grow this year

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Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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