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Available Car warns of ‘significant challenges ahead’ despite 72% profit increase

Michael Bell, CEO of Available Car

The Available Car used car supermarket group has warned of “significant challenges ahead” despite delivering a 72% rise in pre-tax profit and 29.8% uplift in turnover in 2021.

The Castle Donington-based retailer – the subject of an in-depth profile feature in AM last year – revealed a profit before tax of £2.1 million and turnover of £329.7m in its annual accounts for the year to December 31, 2021.

The business, which operate retail sites in Castle Donington, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Cannock and Leeds, received £1.044m from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) scheme during the period – compared to £4.518m in 2020.

It is now looking ahead with plans to roll-out an extensive staff training programme and increased investment in technology.

But director Graham Bell wanted in the business’s strategic statement that uncertainty remains a key concern. He said: “There are significant challenges left to deal with because of te COVID-19 virus that still is causing supply issues in the motor industry.

“The impacts are so significant that these will continue to test the industry in different ways throughout the coming years.

“We see 2022 being an extremely challenging marketplace.”

Bell added: “We are seeing continued increases in fuel and energy prices, interest rates and national insurance contributions which affect both the business and pour customers.

“We will continue to work with, and support, our customers, and our employees through these challenging set of circumstances.”

In an AM dealer profile, Available Car chief executive Michel Bell (pictured above) said he believes his car supermarket group can 'get through anything', in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Available Car has grown rapidly over the last 20 years. It opened its first used car supermarket in Castle Donington in 2002, followed by Sutton-in-Ashfield in 2007, then Cannock in 2012, and most recently, Leeds, West Yorkshire in January 2016.

Following the end of its 2021 financial year Available Car promoted Simon Proudler to the position of chief financial officer.

It later appointed former Renault Retail Group regional operations director Craig Heathershaw as its new chief operating officer.

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