Business news in brief: Pendragon | Greencore | Barr | Gaydar

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Pendragon, Britain’s largest car dealer, has enjoyed a 16.7 per cent increase in new vehicle sales during the first three months of the year.

The firm, which operates under the Evans Halshaw and Stratstone brands, said used car volumes were 3.2 per cent higher than a year ago, while the number of visitors to its websites grew 20.6 per cent.

Pendragon runs 240 dealerships across the UK, along with 14 used car sites and a small operation in California. The group recently vowed to resume dividend payments for the first time since 2008 after annual profits rose 18 per cent.

Bailey takes up new post with Greencore

Sly Bailey, who resigned as chief executive of newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror last year amid a shareholder revolt over her pay deal, has landed a new job with convenience food group Greencore.

She joins the firm, which makes sandwiches for Marks & Spencer, as a non-executive director and chairman Gary Kennedy said her appointment will bring “energy and insight” to the company.

Bailey quit Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, in June ahead of a shareholder rebellion over her £1.7 million pay packet.

Barr Holdings sees return to profit

BARR Holdings, the Ayrshire-based construction group, returned to profit last year despite a fall in turnover.

The company, now owned by Irish group Trench Holdings, made a pre-tax profit of £2 million compared to a £2.5m loss in 2011 due to costs associated with the closure of the precast and steel divisions. Turnover of £164.3m was down from £210.9m, also reflecting the closure of the two divisions.

In accounts filed at Companies House it said the current marketplace was challenging but it continued to maintain its capital investment.

Gaydar website sold in management deal

Dating website operator Gaydar has changed hands in a management buyout backed by an investment firm founded by television entrepreneur Charlie Parsons.

Parsons, who co-founded production company Planet 24, will join the Gaydar board, which will be led by chief executive Trevor Martin, previously managing director of the business.

The Gaydar business includes the and dating sites, mobile sites and app. It has more than six million registered members across 140 countries.