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JCT600 hits new profits high

JCT600, current holder of the AM Large Retail Group of the Year Award, has reported a record year of trading, with a huge jump in profits and sales almost reaching the half-billion pound mark, but says it will not chase turnover.

The Yorkshire-based group’s accounts for the year to December 31, 2005, show operating profit rose to £19.7m against 2004’s £12.4m, a rise of more than 50% and significantly up on forecasts.

It also achieved a 10% increase in turnover to £498m, £474.5m from continuing operations and £23.4m from acquisitions. That compares with £453m turnover in 2004.

“We are fortunate with the size of our business in that we aren’t so large that we are out of touch with our dealerships. We want to be one of the best dealer groups, but not the biggest,” says chief executive John Tordoff.

Most of the group’s franchises have achieved profitable growth, particularly in the prestige and luxury sectors. Its three Mercedes-Benz businesses have increased sales by 10%, and its three BMW outlets have enjoyed a 20% increase, driven by strong corporate demand. New model launches by Aston Martin and Bentley have created strong demand at those businesses.

“There are probably only three or four franchises that we would like to add but beyond that we want to grow with what we have. BMW is a key partner and one we want to expand with.”

Tordoff says the only franchises to experience difficulty were Mazda, with which it has three dealerships, and its single MG Rover outlet in Wakefield, now re-franchised with ChryslerJeep.

In May 2005 JCT600 trebled its VW representation – identified by Tordoff as a growth opportunity – with the £10m purchase of two established VW dealerships in Hull and York. It has since opened a fourth dealership, in Bradford.

The group is aiming for growth to around the 25 to 30 dealerships, all within two hours drive of the Leeds and Bradford area. It currently has 20 outlets.

Tordoff has earmarked £10m for existing projects, including sites for Porsche in Leeds, Peugeot in Bradford and Hull, and new head offices at Apperley Manor.

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