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Renault Retail bounces back after £6.5 million loss

Renault Retail Group is fighting back into profit from a £6.5 million loss last year.

Managing director Ian Plummer told AM multiple actions have been taken to turn the manufacturer-owned dealer group around and improve cashflow. It is now back in profit, he said and he expects profitability to continue into 2010.

Last month Renault Retail Group filed its 2008 accounts with Companies House. These show it plunged to a £6.5 million loss after tax last year from a £1.45 million profit in 2007.

Plummer said the swing was caused by several reasons, including the collapse of used car values and costs associated with a structural review which saw sites close at Dartford, London City and Beddington Farm.

“Nevertheless, we had positive cashflow in 2008, through tightened credit terms, management structures and managing the balance sheet very closely,” said Plummer.

“Our 2009 results will be back in profit, a healthy profit. We’ll maintain that into 2010.”

Renault Retail Group is benefiting from a reduced cost base in 2009, which has brought break-even point down “by several million”.

Headcount was reduced by around 15% and the group has partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which effectively runs its courtesy car fleets from its dealerships.

Emphasis has been placed on driving quality of service and standards. CSI has increased this year and service penetration has improved by five percentage points.

Plummer said improvement has been the result of focus on basic disciplines and applying them well. Service desk staff are being trained in sales and soft skills.

Used cars have been marketed more strongly. Stock is being selected and prepared carefully. Management teams have been communicating and motivating staff.

“It’s very hard work. Everyone is putting in a lot of hours and focusing on delivering results in trying circumstances, but it’s worth it if the results are positive,” Plummer added.

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