The firm that operates 42 dealerships across Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and the North East made a pre-tax profit of £8.5m on ordinary activities (down from £12.3m in the previous year) following significant investment and the squeezing of margins in difficult trading conditions.
Turnover was 1.3 per cent up on the 2010 figure of £613m, according to the firm’s annual results issued today.
During a year when new retail registrations fell by 14.2 per cent and used car sales dropped by 0.4 per cent, the Bradford-based company bucked the trend to increase sales of new cars by 1.3 per cent and used car sales by four per cent.
Extraordinary capital investments including £330,000 in solar panel technology for power generation and £5m in additional lease vehicle stocks pegged back the level of profitability, but are expected to deliver increased returns and cost savings in future.
Group chief executive John Tordoff (pictured) said: ‘We have seen margins hit with the cost of manufacturing, fuel and other overheads rising at the same time as we are feeling the impact of customers having less money in their pockets.
‘However, we are pleased that our positioning and strategy has protected our turnover and returned a healthy profit.’
The group countered UK average trends in the servicing and repair market too, increasing revenues by 1.1 per cent. The firm’s leasing division, JCT600 Contracts, increased sales by 1.3 per cent and also grew its contribution to the group’s profits after investment increased vehicle stocks.
‘We remain alert to increasingly tight margins in the sector with rising vehicle costs and a fairly static level of consumer confidence suppressing spending power.
‘We, like many other businesses in a variety of sectors, continue to work harder and operate in a more efficient way, but we maintain a focus on future strategy and investment in our core asset, our remarkable workforce,’ said Tordoff.