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UK group to expand and target retail work

Bodyshop group Nationwide Accident Repair Services is planning to target more motorists with MoT, servicing, windscreen replacement and on-site light repairs.

Although bodyshops typically receive most of their work through insurance referrals, Nationwide has a three year plan to actively target retail and fleet customers with non crash-related services.

It has already been piloting one programme, entitled Fast Fit+, in Kettering and Leicester.

This provides MoTs, tyres, exhausts and other fast-fit services.

Having gained useful market knowledge from the pilot, chief executive Michael Wilmshurst said the programme remains an area for potential expansion in the 72-site network.

Nationwide is planning to launch a consumer-targeted mobile repair service this summer.

Branded Mobile Restore, it will use a small fleet of vans equipped to repair cosmetic damage such as scratches, scuffs and small dents at the customer’s home or workplace.

Its aim is to tap into the need for minor repairs outside those typically paid for by insurers.

A further mobile service, Motorglass, will focus on vehicle windows.

“Leading the development of both Mobile Restore and Motorglass will be Steve Thompson, one of our executive directors. We will be strengthening our operational team to support the growth plans of both businesses,” said Wilmshurst.

Nationwide’s preliminary 2009 financial results revealed this week that the group is well positioned for growth, with no debt and an £8.3m cashpot at year-end.

Turnover dipped in 2009 to £171m from £179m the previous year, while operating profit dropped from £6.7m to £5.5m.

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