Car dealer makes a Vertu of sales surge

CAR dealership Vertu Motors has seen orders for new 12-plate models overtake last year’s sales by more than 10 per cent, while revenues for the past year have pushed through £1 billion.

The Aim-quoted group, which trades under the Macklin Motors brand in Scotland, yesterday said that in the five months to 31 January it had outperformed the market in sales volumes while maintaining gross profit per unit.

In a trading update ahead of its annual results, Vertu said its like-for-like new car order book for the March private retail market was 10.3 per cent ahead of last year. Vehicles sporting the new 12-year plates began driving out of showrooms this morning.

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The group, which launched as a cash shell in December 2006 and is now one of the UK’s biggest motor retailers, said revenues for the year to 29 February would exceed £1bn. In the previous year, sales totalled £998.9 million, a rise of 22 per cent.

In the five months to the end of January, private new car sales volumes dipped 4.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compared with a market fall of 8.5 per cent.

Vertu – headed by chief executive Robert Forrester – also noted that it had achieved like-for-like profit growth in its “crucial” aftersales operations.