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Profits and sales uplift at Vertu Motors

Vertu Motors grew by 22% in the 12 months to March and boosted adjusted operating profit by 15.8%, according to its preliminary financial results, published this morning.

The group, headed by chief executive Robert Forrester, recorded revenues of £998.9m against £818.9m in the previous year.

That stemmed from expansion through acquisitions – it increased its dealerships from 59 to 75 in the period – and through increased aftersales.

Vertu, which trades as Bristol Street Motors and Macklin Motors, said its group margin improved in the second half of the year to 12.3% from 11.5%, and like-for-like gross profit grew by £1.5m.

Its new car retail volumes rose like-for-like by 1.2%, and used car like-for-like volumes rose 7.1%.

The group plans further acquisitions and has built a warchest of funds to finance future deals.

Since the start Vertu's new financial year, Forrester said current trading in March and April has been stronger than anticipated. April had been effected by the bank holidays, as had been expected, but the market has picked up again so far into May.

He added: "Whilst the new vehicle supply constraints arising from the natural disaster in Japan in March pose a short term uncertainty, in the medium term new vehicle sales are set to rise and start to climb back to pre-recession levels.

"Used car sales and aftersales remain areas of significant opportunity particularly in the acquired businesses.

"Going forward the group's growth strategy remains in place, as we look to benefit from our strong balance sheet and the structural growth opportunities available to acquisitive motor retail businesses in what remains a highly fragmented market."

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