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John Grose Group prepares to close Framlingham Ford dealership

The John Grose Group will attempt to redistribute staff from its Ford dealership in Framlingham after taking the decision to close the franchised site.

Richard Howard, managing director of the Suffolk-based car retail group, which operates Ford, Citroen, DS Automobiles, Kia and Peugeot dealerships, told the East Anglian Daily Times that it would take advantage of a break in its lease at the Station Road site to close the facility.

The newspaper reported that customers had received letters informing them of the site’s closure on January 31, adding that speculation locally suggested it could be transformed into a supermarket.

Howard told the publication that the decision to close the dealership had been made due to the rising challenge of internet car sales and other economic issues and “with the full support of Ford Motor Company”.

He said that the market representation of all motor vehicle manufacturer partners across the UK was "under scrutiny" as wider economic factors impact the sector, along with the inevitable growth in distance selling through digital channels.

John Grose acquired the Framlingham franchise from previous operator, Potters Group, back in 2005 and also operates Ford dealerships in Ipswich, Woodbridge, Diss and Lowestoft.

"We are looking to relocate our staff to other locations and to offer our loyal customers an uninterrupted service," said Howard.

The group’s most recent new dealership opening was that of a Peugeot, Citroën and DS Automobiles multi-brand facility in Ipswich in September 2018 – bringing PSA Group under one roof the first time in the town.

The new site, on the Ransomes Europark, close to the A14, previously played host to the Group’s Citroen dealership, but the brands were brought together following the relocation of the nearby Peugeot franchise and the addition of DS.

The group’s latest accounts, for the period ending December 31, 2018, showed a 4% decline in turnover, to £166.5 million, and a 34.9% decline in profit before tax to £1.63m.

A year earlier, the seven-site operation had been able to report a 12% rise in turnover, its total takings having reached £175.7m in the year to December 31, as its pre-tax profits grew by almost 13% to £3.5m.

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