Vertu Motors beats market expectations as profits soar

Car dealer Vertu Motors has seen pre-tax profits soar despite revenues being impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

Bristol Street Motors in Stafford
Bristol Street Motors in Stafford

The firm, which includes Bristol Street Motors in Stafford and West Bromwich and Vauxhall Lichfield, has reported a jump in pre-tax profits to £22.4 million from £7.3 million in the year to February 28 2021.

Despite seeing revenues slump to £2.5 billion from £3.06 billion 12 months earlier, it said results were ahead of expectations.

Vertu also revealed that in March and April it has made record profits of £19.2 million, compared to £14.8 million in the same months in 2019.

The board expects to make around £24 million to £28 million for the current financial year.

Vertu Motors said that in the first quarter of 2021, when showrooms were shut by the third lockdown, it still managed to deliver 38,446 new and used vehicles.

It said "substantial growth" in its online sales platform ‘Click2Drive’ has helped hugely and it has introduced "robotic process automation" to help improve efficiency.

CEO Robert Forrester said: "These results, which are ahead of expectations, are outstanding in the Covid interrupted circumstances.

"I am proud of the entire Vertu team for their adaptability and effort to deliver these remarkable results.

"The group has significantly evolved during the year, with accelerated delivery of its strategy in achieving enhanced online sales capability via its in-house developed Click2Drive technology platform, reduced cost base due to productivity gains and significantly grown the number of sales outlets.

"We have started the new financial year very strongly, have generated record levels of cash and have a very strong balance sheet.

"We have now re-instated guidance. Brexit uncertainty is now behind us, and we are exceedingly well placed to benefit from the changes and opportunities which are ahead of us."

During the year, Vertu added 18 new dealerships to the group, the largest of which was its new partnership with BMW, Mini and BMW Motorrad when it acquired dealerships from Inchcape.

The group plans to continue growing and to "develop its portfolio of manufacturer partners".

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