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NewsJCT600 sees revenues rise, but profits are downMajor capital investments made during year will deliver increased returns and cost savingsBy Tim RoseAM100 dealer group JCT600 recorded a 1.3% lift in revenues to £623 million in 2011, its recently-published annual results revealed.Pre-tax profit on ordinary activities dropped to £8.5m from £12.3m following significant invest­ment in the business and squeezed margins in the difficult trading conditions.The family-owned Yorkshire-based motor retailer increased its new car volumes by 1.3% and used car volumes by 4% during the year, against nationally declining markets. Service revenues grew by 1.1%, and its leasing division, JCT600 Contracts, also grew vehicle sales by 1.3%.JCT600 group chief executive John Tordoff said extraordinary capital investments, including £330,000 in solar panel technology for power generation, £5m in additional lease vehicle stocks to support the expansion of the JCT600 Contracts business, and £2.3m in the property estate and IT systems "pegged back" the level of profitability, but are expected to deliver increased returns and cost savings over future years.  "We have seen margins hit with the cost of manufacturing, fuel and other overheads rising at the same time as we are feeling the impact of customers having less money in their pockets.  However, overall we are pleased that our posi­tioning and strategy has protected our turnover and returned a healthy profit after increased investment in staff training and IT systems that will benefit the business in the future," he said. "We remain alert to increasingly tight margins in the sector with rising vehicle costs and a fairly static level of consumer confidence suppressed spending power.  "We, like many other businesses in a variety of sectors, continue to work harder and operate in a more efficient way, but we maintain a focus on future strategy and investment in our core asset, our remarkable workforce,"  Tordoff said.Source: AMiJCT600AM100 average

By Simon Bowkett, of Symco TrainingLast month we looked at how sales managers can make sure their sales executives follow the dealership's 'road to the sale' process when dealing with a customer, starting with a quick review to see if they have qualified them correctly.This time my video looks at the second review stage, when the salesperson has come back from the presentation and demonstration. It's a simple but effective three-stage process: ask them what trial close question they just asked, re-sell the deal to them to boost their confidence, and remind them that 'no customer walks until the boss talks'. Keep your sales staff on track with their customersImprove your selling skills - for freeFor a link to more free online videos, email me at simon@symcotraining.co.uk or call on 01829 760 679. Or follow me on Twitter @SymcoSimonDecline in dealership numbers to continueThe latest Trend Tracker report has high-lighted a significant reduction in the number of used car retailing sites in the UK over the last decade.Its market analysis, The Future of the Used Car Market in Great Britain 2012 to 2017, asserts that there were 11,610 sites in 2001, comprising franchised dealers, independent used car sites and used car supermarkets.In 2011, there were 25% fewer sites, with franchised dealers and independent used car retailers experiencing similar declines in numbers. Further still, the report forecasts that the number of sites will continue to decline, with 11% predicted to close between 2012 and 2017.Robert Macnab, Trend Tracker's lead analyst, said: "In a new car market that will continue to be weak for a while, some franchised dealers will face a shortage of working cap-ital as their showroom costs cannot be cut in line with already marginal profitability in new car sales. "There is likely to be some decline in single-brand sites as manufacturers sanction multi-franchise dealerships to preserve local representation."Dealer groups can be expected to close some of their least profitable sites, especially in the regions which will experience the slowest recovery from recession - Wales, the north-east and the West Midlands."New car marketNewsCV ShownewsUsed caranalysisNewsRecruitmentdigestDealerprofileShowroomAdvertisement feature