Palmers Motor Company broke through the £60m turnover figure last year – although its pre-tax profit was just £248.
The dealership group’s annual report and financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2019, filed at Companies House as Palmers (St Albans) Holdings Ltd, show turnover rose by 1.6 per cent to £60.17m, thanks to a 9.7 per cent rise in used car sales.
However, gross margins dropped from 4.6 per cent to 3.9 per cent and although operating profit came in at £188,360 – down from £360,317 in 2018 – payable interest ‘and similar expenses’ saw pre-tax profit sink from £187,079 in 2018 to just £248 last year.
A £133,752 tax on profit saw the Hertfordshire-based firm ultimately record a £133,504 loss for the year.
Acknowledging the £248 figure, managing director Danny Palmer said in the report that it followed a £500,000 advance made to Palmers & Sons Properties Ltd and the group legally waiving that loan balance.
He added that the directors were satisfied with the group’s performance.
The market had been suppressed in 2019 because of ‘continuing uncertainty over Brexit and more importantly the transfer of consumer interest to EV/hybrid vehicles’, said Palmer.
He added that they still didn’t have a complete model line-up of AFVs but were anticipating increased availability this year and in 2021.
As regards future developments, the pandemic initially damaged trading performance for 2020, said Palmer, but pent-up demand following the dealerships’ reopening helped it recover losses from the second quarter.
He said the group had saved some £500,000 as a result of redundancies plus ‘other major cost savings’, which had also helped in loss recovery.
‘2020 will be a challenging year for the group, as it will for most businesses in the UK,’ added Palmer.
The privately owned group, which has showrooms in Watford and Hemel Hempstead, has franchises for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat, Jeep, MG, MItsubishi and Peugeot.
Its Triumph franchise closed, with MG replacing it, and it moved its Fiat franchise from Watford to Hemel Hempstead, disposing of its leasehold interest in the Fiat site.
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