Independent bodyshop group Just Car Clinics issued a profits warning at its AGM today and reported that repair volumes continue to be hit by wider economic factors.
Its chairman, David Hickey, said the economic climate, high fuel prices and high insurance excess payments continue to impact on the number of people needing and wanting vehicles repaired.
"Whilst profitability in the first quarter was broadly in line with expectations, a combination of these challenging market conditions and the recent record breaking dry weather, have resulted in significant pressure on repair volumes, with turnover falling by 14% in the first four months of 2011 when compared to the previous year," he said.
!A focus on the higher margin repair of damaged components, rather than replacement, has improved gross margins year on year and this, together with a cost reduction programme, has mitigated the impact of reduced volumes.
"However, these actions are unlikely to recover the recent shortfall and the group now expects to report profits for the year ended December 31, 2011, below market expectations."