AM Online

Dutton buys five more dealerships

Retailer group Dutton-Forshaw, listed at No 26 in the AM100, continues its policy of expansion by acquisition by buying five more dealerships.

To its existing 25 dealerships, including the four Mercedes-Benz outlets it bought from Whitehouse Group in December 2004, it has added two Citroen franchises in Blackpool and Keighley, two Volkswagen dealerships in Blackpool and Preston and a Chrysler Jeep dealership in Canterbury.

Turnover will increase from £312m to £480m. This puts the company in joint 18th place in the AM100.

“We already have businesses in the North-west but we want to rebuild the base we had in that part of the world,” says Maurice Rourke, managing director.

“What we are trying to do is add where we have people or businesses now, or buy volume. What we won’t do is buy one-off dealerships in places where we don’t have representation.” All 400 staff in the acquired dealerships transfer to Dutton- Forshaw, which now employs 1,500 people.

Dutton-Forshaw already operates Citroen and Volkswagen franchises in the North-west. Chrysler Jeep is new to the group in Kent.

The business now has 30 franchise points, an increase of 50% since the company was bought by the Lloyds TSB Group in January 2003. The group is aiming for between 40 and 50 in total within the next 18 months.

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