Pentagon Group has become the latest dealership chain to bring in Sunday closing to help improve the work-life balance of its workforce.
The new and used car dealership group will be introducing the initiative on a temporary basis as of November 6, following feedback from an employee survey in which its sales staff said they wanted a better work-life balance.
Pentagon said the three-month trial would ‘explore how this works for our staff and customers’, and would effectively move the company from a 5 ½-day sales working rota to a five-day cycle.
Pentagon Group managing director David Peel said: ‘I think this is great news for our people.
‘We have a rigorous and ongoing programme of actioning feedback from our annual surveys looking at employee satisfaction levels in all areas, and are delighted to be able to announce this important trial.
‘We have a great team across our 30 sites, and helping them with an enhanced work-life balance is important.’
He added: ‘We have been aided in our planning by a changing pattern in customer behaviours.
‘Our own experience parallels recent findings of industry-wide surveys that show the number of people shopping seriously for cars on a Sunday is now down to around just eight per cent of the weekly total.
‘That’s incredibly wasteful, not only of our talented sales and support teams’ time, but also of the energy required for opening each of our facilities to the public for such a small level of possible business.
‘In these times of national need for energy conservation and restraint, this seems an additional win for us all.
‘Far better for all concerned to focus our teams’ efforts and numbers on the Monday-to-Wednesday period and Saturdays that are now comfortably our busiest periods in showrooms.’
Pentagon’s showrooms are spread across Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Merseyside.
Its move follows on the heels of Burrows Motor Company doing the same thing on a permanent basis.
Pentagon said it would continue to have a strong digital presence for live chat and online ordering on Sundays.
Meanwhile, its call centre, which already handles all incoming sales and aftersales calls, will still be fully manned for Sunday hours.
Pentagon will analyse comment from customers via the call centre, and if sales drop off beyond the anticipated level, or if it finds that customers are unhappy with the Sunday closure, it said it’ll consider reverting back.
Pentagon Group’s initial LinkedIn post announcing the move drew widespread praise.
Among the comments, mindset leadership coach Tim Hargraves said ‘in my opinion it is FOMO [fear of missing out] that stops retailers from closing on Sundays. I closed a dealership on Sundays 18 years ago and it didn’t make any difference to sales rates’.
Bentley Hatfield sales executive Andrew Slatter said: ‘Examples of dealer groups experiencing more profit and productivity when closed on Sundays are more common than people realise.’
Allen Motor Group sales manager Benjamin Delnevo said: ‘We have been closed on Sundays now for a few months. We have seen an increase in profits, less sickness and the vibe/energy in the showroom has increased. Win win.’
Meanwhile, Adrian Ball, of Inchcape Audi, said: ‘What a great move and I sincerely hope it works out.
‘With more people working from home in general, I have noticed a shift in footfall.
‘More people are visiting during the week. If the concept was adopted by the industry, I don’t believe it would make any difference to the annual sales.
‘If supermarkets were closed on Sunday, would you run out of food?
‘Unfortunately, retailers are now stuck on the hamster wheel of 24/7 operations. The industry needs a shake-up. Well done Pentagon.’
Pictured at top is Pentagon Group’s Rochdale site