THE used car dealership group Imperial Cars has reported a drop in pre-tax profits – but an increase in turnover and investment into new sites and staff training.
The details are published in the Southampton-based company’s annual report which revealed turnover had increased from £142.4 million to £201.4 million.
The report said the group had enjoyed another year of ‘strong volume growth and continued profitability’ in which it had opened another four sites and taken on more staff. The number of people on the payroll rose from 247 to 365.
Return on sales for the financial year ending March 31 stood at 0.8 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent the previous year. Gross margin stood at 11.4 per cent, down from 12.9 per cent in 2017-18.
The report said: ‘The results for the year reflect the industry-wide pressures on gross margins which the directors review on a weekly basis.
‘The directors [also] monitor all aspects of the company’s performance and continue to focus on and optimise vehicle margins, stock control, funding requirements and costs. They continue to seek opportunities for new sites to increase the geographical spread of the Imperial brand, as well as invest in the existing sites with those added in the year continuing to mature in their local markets.
‘The directors anticipate these actions will continue to drive further volume growth and improved profitability in the year ahead to record levels.’
Profit after taxation in the year to March 31 amounted to £1.332 million, down from £2.515 million last year.
The company said: ‘The group continues to be recognised for its digital presence and use of data to drive activity. The number of employees has grown as a result of internal investment and the acquisition of new sites, and the group places great emphasis on the ongoing training and development of their staff in order to sustain high professional standards and offer the customer a blended online/offline buying experience.
‘Since the year-end, the group has invested in a new head office to centralise many operations . . . and a new preparation centre in Bristol.’