CAR supermarket group The Trade Centre Wales has announced plans for national growth as well as the appointment of Motors.co.uk managing director Andy Coulthurst as chief executive officer.
A new, purpose-designed, 8.7-acre retail outlet will be opened on the A470 north of Cardiff early in 2016 and the company is about to complete work on a 30,000 sq ft new, state-of-the-art group preparation facility at Neath, with 36 ramps and a 10,000 sq ft bodyshop.
Mark Bailey, chairman of The Trade Centre Wales, said: ‘Our new Cardiff North outlet will showcase 800 cars, with a showroom capacity of 300, and it is critical as we scale up our operation that we continue to provide optimum quality used vehicles to our customers.
‘Our reputation is our most valuable asset. We are very proud of our TrustPilot rating of 8.8 and the fantastic reviews that our customers post every day. However, our obsession with delighting customers means we must invest significantly as we grow our volumes.’
Before his three years spent leading the growth of the Manheim-owned car classified network Motors.co.uk, Coulthurst, pictured above, spent 25 years leading sales operations in car supermarkets and, more recently, the Yorkshire-based premium dealer group JCT600.
The Cardiff North store is the first of a number of outlets that will be rolled out over the next 36 months, and he said: ‘I felt honoured to be asked by Mark to lead the business at this important stage of growth. I have known Mark for a couple of years and always been incredibly impressed by what he and his team have achieved.
‘Our Cardiff North opening marks the first stage of a significant growth plan, with openings in the south-west and Midlands set to follow, and we will also open smaller format stores in the areas in which we operate, supporting our hugely successful CanCan car finance business.’
The Trade Centre Wales took 30th position in the 2015 Sunday Times BDO profit track 100 report, tracking the fastest-growing companies by profitability across the previous three years, with growth of 75 per cent to £5.6m for the two existing retail outlets in Neath and Merthyr Tydfil.
And he told how the firm intended to benchmark business performance. ‘There is no UK dealer business upon which we can benchmark our KPIs. Our unique concept, free of manufacturer ties, allows us to grow quickly and adapt to ever-changing consumer demands.
‘Instead, we have to look to the US and New York-listed car retailer group CARMAX to gauge performance. I suppose tracking the world’s largest used car retailer is not a bad place to start. Whilst CARMAX is some way ahead of us in scale, with turnover of $14bn and 150 stores, we outperform them on almost every KPI. From profit and sales volume per store to expenses per unit retailed, we intend to stay ahead of CARMAX as we grow.’
Steve Richards, financial director of The Trade Centre Wales, said: ‘We will update the team quarterly on progress, with a CARMAX KPI benchmarking report, and provided we continue to stay ahead, it will be very rewarding to congratulate the team on being part of the world’s best-performing used car operation.’
He also explained how the growth of the business would be funded organically. ‘We are fortunate that the success of The Trade Centre Wales concept to date means that we are able to fund our first wave of growth to the end of 2018 without the need for outward investment.
‘Our strong growth has, as you would expect, attracted investors. However, we can multiply revenues and profits, set to be north of £7m this year, ahead of requiring cash to significantly accelerate growth in the second phase of our plan.’