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Sales and profits drop as Cambria rebalances its mainstream brands with luxury franchises

Cambria Automobiles has reported a drop in revenues and profits from its six months’ trading until February 28.

It comes as the group has continued to restructure, adding luxury car brands – in January it bought Bentley Essex and Kent from Jardine Motors Group -  and closing some mainstream and niche brand outlets.

The AM100 dealer group posted interim revenues of £295.1m, down 4.5% from the same period last year, while underlying pre-tax profits dropped 14.3% to £4.8m.

Cambria’s new vehicle sales dropped by 16.2% (like-for-like down 14.1%), which it had expected given the downturn in the national new car market.

Used vehicle sales fell 6.7% (0.8% down like-for-like), although profit per unit rose 7.3% (9.7% up like-for-like).

Aftersales revenues were up 1.1% (up 6.1% like-for-like).

Gross profit dropped 2.5% to £35.2m, with the new car division down £1.5m, used cars up by £0.2m and aftersales up £0.4m.

The overall gross profit margin rose slightly, from 11.7% to 11.9%.

Mark Lavery, chief executive of Cambria, said the "solid financial performance in the first half” gives confidence that Cambria “will maintain momentum in the second half” and meet current market expectations. He said this is a notable achievement given the economic backdrop, consumer uncertainty, diesel demonisation and cost pressures. 

“I am pleased with the improvements in both the used car and aftersales departments that have partially offset the pressure seen in new cars.     

"We have made excellent progress with the group's franchising strategy, adding two Bentley dealerships, one Lamborghini dealership and one McLaren dealership in the period. 

"Aside from the property refurbishments to facilitate the addition of the four newly opened High Luxury businesses, we have also made positive strides with the major property projects underway in Swindon for Jaguar Land Rover and at Hatfield for Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and McLaren.

“The developments are progressing well and, once completed, will enhance our already excellent site portfolio and brand representation whilst supporting the group's long term trading prospects.”

Cambria's first McLaren dealership opened in January 2018 in temporary facilities at Hatfield, while construction of a motor park to hold Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and McLaren is expected to end by January 2019.

Bentley Essex has been relocated to new premises (formerly home to Alfa Romeo and Jeep franchises) in Chelmsford, beside Cambria's new Lamborghini showroom, while Bentley Kent  relocated to Cambria's former home of Mazda and Honda franchises at Tunbridge Wells.

Construction of Swindon's new Arch-style Jaguar Land Rover dealership is expected to be completed in July.

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