Mercedes Benz Retail Group’s latest accounts reveal losses increased to £35m as Brexit concerns ‘fuelled economic uncertainty’.
In a filing to Companies House this week, the dealer group said it turned over £1.025bn in 2019, but losses stacked up.
The £35m loss for the year compared to a £21.2m loss in 2018 – and the dealer group is predicting the challenges of 2020 to ‘further prejudice the growth’.
Mercedes Benz Retail Group consists of 14 retail sites, four used car sites and nine smart centres across the north and south of London. The group is owned by the manufacturer.
The group said: ‘2019 proved to be another challenging year for MBRG due to a number of external factors that affected customer confidence; factors such as Brexit, which has fuelled economic uncertainty, and the ongoing diesel discussions in the market.’
The company also blamed a revaluation of its property for adding a £17.1m write off to its 2019 numbers, which have only just been filed.
Mercedes Benz Retail Group’s new car sales dropped by 12.8 per cent compared to 2018 during the year, which the firm says was driven by stepping back from ‘low margin’ corporate sales.
But despite this, retail sales were also down by 5.2 per cent. Used car sales fell by 4.1 per cent.
Van sales for the group were up, though, with new (11.8 per cent) and used (5.7 per cent) both recording rises on the previous year.
The report added: ‘The directors expect the economic challenges in 2020 to prejudice the overall growth of the automotive industry.
‘However, the directors are confident that due to cash flow optimisation, such as stock reduction, and efficiency measures the company is well prepared.
‘The uncertainty and Covid-19 continues to influence consumer and business confidence and undoubtedly affects the market.
‘The reduced customer demand led to a reduction of MBRG’s commercial footprint in 2020 to right size the organisation.’
Angela Shepherd was appointed UK CEO for Mercedes-Benz Retail Group in December 2019 and bought almost 30 years’ brand experience to the role.
Shepherd originally joined Mercedes-Benz UK as a graduate trainee in September 1990 and took up her first management position as head of franchising a decade later.
She was heavily involved in the planning and restructuring of the Mercedes-Benz dealer network that established the manufacturer-owned retail group.
The full accounts can be seen on the Companies House website now.
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