Sales cruise ahead at car dealer John Clark

Car dealer John Clark Motor Group has seen turnover rev up 5.5 per cent to £742 million though underlying earnings nudged into reverse.

BMW is one of the brands represented by the group. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Scotland’s third largest motor dealer said the early part of 2017 saw “encouraging” trading while the latter months were more challenging in the face of “economic and political uncertainty” which led to reduced consumer confidence.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) came in at £15.3m in the year to 31 December, down from the £15.9m booked in 2016.

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Group managing director Chris Clark said: “Throughout 2017 we maintained positive momentum towards our key strategic objectives, as we seek to strengthen our position as one of the leading motor trade dealer groups in Scotland.”

Group chairman John Clark added: “Throughout 2018 our investment in staff and premises via further acquisitions continues. We were delighted to add Volvo Cars to the group’s brand portfolio, opening our first dealership in Edinburgh in February and our second in Dundee during early summer.

“Further developments are planned for 2018 including the build of an all new facility for BMW, Mini & BMW Motorrad in Dundee, and showroom redevelopments for Skoda, Seat and Volvo in the same city. Further south, plans are underway on the refurbishment of the Volvo showroom in Edinburgh.

“We recognise the wider outlook for 2018 is one of ongoing political uncertainty with a stable but fragile economy, however our mid-year management accounts show 10 per cent further growth.”

The staff headcount rose by 5 per cent to 1,262 last year. This has further expanded in 2018 with continued investment in apprenticeship appointments.