Stoneacre Motor Group's directors will forego their salaries after taking the decision to furlough 3,000 employees due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – vowing not to take a wage until the business “returns to profitability”.
The South Yorkshire-based AM100 car retail group revealed in a statement issued to AM this morning (April 23) that it took into account its workforce’s “worries” and “concern” in the current lockdown period and had put its ambitious growth plans on hold.
And, after taking advantage of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) by placing most on furlough, the Stoneacre said that its directors had “taken the decision to take no salary whatsoever until the company has returned to profitability”.
It said that the move had been made “out of respect to our furloughed staff”.
Stoneacre Motor Group has seen massive growth over the last decade, with revenues having increased from £166 million to over £1 billion and profit before tax (PBT) from £4m to £17m.
The group, whose managing director Shaun Foweather spoke to AM about its strategy to reach £1bn turnover back in 2017, published annual financial results for the period to April 31, 2019 back in February, detailing a 24.9% turnover increase in annual turnover and a 31.2% rise in pre-tax profits.
The group now has 51 branches, representing 24 car manufacturer franchises at 103 locations with Newcastle-upon Tyne being the most northern location and Peterborough the most Southern.
In today's statement the group said that the company remained well geared to continue expansion into 2020 and beyond by utilising annual profits to purchase new acquisitions “until the UK lockdown was announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The business has remained open at certain sites in order to honour contract with the ambulance service and ensure key workers are kept mobile, but described its decision to furlough the majority of its 3,000 loyal team members as “monumental”.
It added: “During these very difficult and unprecedented times, we are aware that many of our loyal work colleagues will be concerned for their future.
“Worried how long this will take, worried if they are able to continue paying their bills and look after their families, worried how this will affect their jobs in the future, worried if it will be safe to return to work and worried how to work upon return to ensure our loyal customers are safe in their dealings with us.
“The directors and senior managers have been working tirelessly over the last few weeks to ensure that all of these concerns are addressed with new working practices ready to be implemented by the end of April, which will ensure the safety of our valued colleagues and customers.”
The statement added: “We are not alone in having concerns for profitability in this current year and beyond, fortunately through good planning the company is financially capable of meeting the many challenges ahead and believes that once we are able to return to some normality the surge of demand will assist future profitability.”