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Profits climb at Arnold Clark with rising used car sales

Eddie Hawthorne, Arnold Clark chief executive

Expansion of its used car supermarkets has helped Arnold Clark Automobiles drive profits and revenues up.

Its 2019 accounts, filed this week, highlight a 5.3% uplift in turnover to £4.5 billion plus a 3.1% increase in pre-tax profits to £117 million.

Chief executive Eddie Hawthorne said the rise was driven primarily by higher used car sales volume, which rose by 7.3% to 256,376 units, and some of these vehices have been sourced directly from consumers through its 'Arnold Buys Your Car' messaging.

New car sales volume fell by 7.4% to 63,310 units, partly due to RDE2's impact on new car supply.

Hawthorne said he was "honoured" by the group's AM Awards wins for Dealer Group of the Year and Best Used Car Dealer Group and said "these awards were only possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees, our commitment to putting our customers first and the digital to physical retail experience we've created over the years".

"I believe this sets us apart in the motor trade andin our ambition to be a retailer of choice," he added.

On COVID, Hawthorne the financial strength of the group provides a very solid foundation and the business has sufficient cash and resources to deal with the challenges ahead.

Expansion of the Arnold Clark Motorstore network included openings in Bolton and Wolverhampton and a second site in Leeds, and its franchised dealership network also grew in Paisley and Glasgow, Aberdeen and Stirling.

"Digital development continues to be an area of significant strategic importance for us. We have continued to invest in online platforms to streamline and enhance the used experience, including the ability to reserve cars online for a refundable £99 deposit.

"A full rollout has taken place during 2020 and represents a major advance in our online retail offering," said Hawthorne.

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