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Secrets of UK’s most profitable retail business

Porsche Retail Group doesn’t just top the return on sales, profit per outlet and profit per employee tables produced by AM, it’s almost in its own league.

Consider the figures: profit per outlet of almost £2m (next is CEM Day on £622,000), return on sales of 4.2% (against JCT600’s 3.7%), profit per employee of £36,443 (ahead of JCT600 on £17,400).

But are the results, as some critics claim, skewed because the business is owned by Porsche Cars GB? Indeed, is selling Porsche cars a licence to print money? Porsche is, after all, renowned for making fewer cars than customers demand. A degree of exclusivity keeps prices and profits high, and Porsche is the world’s most profitable carmaker.

This issue of exclusivity has tended to seep into the retail network. Porsche retailers have been criticized for an attitude that suggests they believe they are doing customers a favour by selling them the car rather than vice versa. Sales staff, according to well recounted anecdotes, are abrupt to the point of rudeness.

Chris Caygill, group general manager of Porsche Retail, is brutally honest in his appraisal. “It’s true that we had an arrogant approach to sales – the business was about what people wanted to do, not what we wanted them to do, because we didn’t have any processes in place,” he says.

“Porsche Retail had been successful by default because the brand and the models were so good. The process and people were not – we sold cars because people wanted them.” (This feature continues in the October 6 issue of AM)

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