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Lookers cuts staff turnover and sees profits rise

A nationwide programme to 'attract, develop and value our people' has cut employee turnover at Lookers plc in half over the past four years.

The dealer group now has a staff turnover across all departments to 15% - well below the retail industry national average of 23.8% (CBI, June 2000).

The company says the benefits are evident in an improved financial performance, higher levels of customer satisfaction and higher levels of customer retention. Lookers' turnover in the six-months to June 2001 was up 26% at £374m with operating profits up 33% at £8.5m. New car sales increased 41% over the same period last year and used car sales were up by 32%. Motor profits from aftersales activity (service and parts) were up by 49%.

Fred Maguire, Lookers' chairman, said: "Cutting employee turnover has been a key goal in restructuring the company over the last few years. Clearly our aim of achieving customers for life is only possible if we also have a stable and loyal employee base.

"Staff continuity is extremely important to customers. This business is all about trust and relationships. You can't build a relationship with customers if you don't have the continuity."

The adoption of the 'attract, develop and value our people' mantra has meant the introduction of a training and personal development programme has been created alongside improved internal communications, more devolution of power to operational level and greater employee involvement in decision making.

Lookers pioneered the Modern Apprenticeship in Vehicle Selling in conjunction with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and was the first dealer group to adopt the new national qualification. The programme has now been rolled out to other dealerships in the group. (November 30, 2001)

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