The company behind Available Car saw profits fall by 85 per cent in 2020 after sales decreased by nearly £150m.
Turnover at Graham Bell (Holdings) fell by 32 per cent from £454m to £309m in the year ending December 31, 2020, while it reported profit before tax of £1.46m – down by £8m compared to 2019.
In its annual report the used car business added that it had also seen gross margin drop to 3.1 per cent from 5.29 per cent in during the period as it was heavily impacted by the national lockdowns.
In the group’s strategic report for the year, Graham Bell, wrote: ‘This [national lockdowns] had a huge impact on the number of sales the group made against previous years’ performances.
‘This prompted a restructure of the business, including streamlining various departments, which resulted in a reduction in headcount.
‘As our main channel for retailing had been taken away, like all other customer-facing businesses, we had to quickly adapt to online sales, home delivery, and click and collect.’
In the report the company explained it had embraced technology over the 12 months and further prepare the business for the future.
Bell, who is also a director at Fords of Winsford, took some positivity from the lockdowns, commenting: ‘These processes have evolved and grown over the period of lockdowns and has now provided us with additional ways of selling, even when we return to our traditional platform of welcoming our customers through the door.
‘This small gain, in what was otherwise an extremely challenging year, has ensured we will be better placed to serve our customers in the future and grow our market share.’