Bradford-based new and used motor retailer JCT600 drove record revenues of £1.025bn in the year to 31 December 2014, an increase of 13% from the previous year’s total sales of £906m.
Operating profit before goodwill and exceptionals rose by 14% to £23.2m in 2014, thanks largely to the firm’s continued expansion, with gross margins almost static at 11.7% (11.8% in 2013).
“Following our acquisitions from Gilder Group in 2013, last year was about bringing the new businesses into the JCT600 fold, and furthering our aims to grow the best car retail business, as well as being the best place to shop for a car,” commented chief executive John Tordoff.
Building on significant increases in volume of new car sales in previous years, JCT600 once again outperformed the market with the company’s new car sales increasing by 12% compared with the UK average rise of 7%, and, after significant increases in recent years, the firm consolidated its used car business with growth in sales of 1% during the period.
JCT600, which now comprises 50 dealerships and represents 19 new vehicle brands, has dealerships across from Yorkshire and the North East to Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and employs over 2,000 staff.
“Out performing the market in new car sales is a signal that our retail offering, service standards and pricing are winning over customers in a market which boasts plenty of choice, and that’s down to good strategy, great colleagues and hard work,” added Mr Tordoff.
The firm is focused on the changing use of the internet by car buyers, and invested significantly in both headcount and technology in 2014. The businesses saw web traffic grow by 16% over the year, and mobile search traffic increased by 58%, underlining the importance of tablets and devices in the way dealerships market to buyers, an area that has been a key marketing focus for the firm for some years.
Nigel Shaw, group finance director at JCT600, comments: “This year also looks promising for us as a business. With the General Election safely behind us, we can look forward to a more stable outlook ahead which will allow consumer confidence to maintain its upwards trend.
“We aren’t aggressive about expansion, rather maintaining quality is our primary strategy. However, we are in a good position for strategic growth with relatively low gearing for the sector. We continue to look at acquisition and organic growth in our existing and new regions where opportunities of the right quality are available,” added Mr Shaw.
Originally founded in 1946, JCT600 remains a family firm with a long history in the motor industry. Current chief executive, John Tordoff is the son of Jack Tordoff who built the company up from a single garage over 44 highly successful years until he moved to the role of chairman in 2002.