Owner of Scottish motor chain Macklin sees pent-up lockdown demand lead to showroom rush

Vertu Motors, the car dealership group with more than a dozen Macklin Motors showrooms in Scotland, has seen sales gather pace after reopening its doors to walk-in customers and putting Brexit uncertainty “behind us”.

Announcing market-beating full-year profits, despite lockdown impacting much of the period, the firm said pent-up demand in sales was again evident as customers sought to test drive vehicles for the first time in months.

The Macklin Motors showrooms in Scotland reopened on April 5, subject to requiring an appointment to be made, with the rest of the company’s showrooms opening a week later without the need for an appointment.

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Despite the lockdown restrictions, Vertu saw strong trading conditions in March with trading profits at record levels for the group.

Robert Forrester is the chief executive of Vertu Motors, the car dealership group with 14 Macklin Motors showrooms in Scotland.

The results released for the year ended February 28 revealed an adjusted profit before tax of £24.6 million, which was ahead of analysts’ forecasts and the £23m banked a year earlier.

Since the start of March, 18 sales outlets have been added to the group, including the addition of three new franchise partners – BMW, Mini and motorbike brand BMW Motorrad.

The firm, which has a network of 149 sales and aftersales outlets across the UK, also pointed to “substantial” growth in online retailing using its Click2Drive sales technology platform.

Chief executive Robert Forrester told investors: “These results, which are ahead of expectations, are outstanding in the Covid interrupted circumstances.

“The group has significantly evolved during the year, with accelerated delivery of its strategy in achieving enhanced online sales capability, reduced cost base due to productivity gains and significantly grown the number of sales outlets.

“We have started the new financial year very strongly, have generated record levels of cash and have a very strong balance sheet.

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“Brexit uncertainty is now behind us, and we are exceedingly well placed to benefit from the changes and opportunities which are ahead of us.”

Analysts at Zeus Capital noted: “Vertu has released an impressive set of [full-year] results, which are ahead of our previously upgraded forecasts. Trading momentum remains strong with pent-up demand still evident, and with healthy cash generation and a strong balance sheet we believe Vertu is well positioned.”

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Macklin Motors owner Vertu on road to forecast-topping profit despite lockdowns

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