CAR retailer JCT600, Yorkshire’s biggest family-owned business, has seen its revenues motor beyond the £1bn mark, as the economic recovery picks up speed.
The Bradford-based firm believes consumer confidence will continue to improve this year, following David Cameron’s triumph at the General Election.
The company’s revenues have also been boosted by acquisitions from the Sheffield-based Gilder Group, which were secured in 2013. The Gilder deal has strengthened the group’s position in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and it also gives it a bigger slice of the lucrative Audi and Volkswagen market.
JCT600 achieved record revenues of £1.025bn in the year to December 31 2014, which was an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year’s total.
Operating profit before goodwill and exceptionals rose by 14 per cent to £23.2m in 2014, thanks to the firm’s continued expansion, with gross margins almost static at 11.7 per cent.
Chief executive John Tordoff said: “Following our acquisitions from Gilder Group, last year was about bringing the new businesses into the JCT600 fold, and furthering our aims to grow the best car retail business, as well as being the best place to shop for a car.”
Mr Tordoff told The Yorkshire Post that the firm might increase its turnover by five to 10 per cent this year, and he described the market as “busy but tough”.
He added: “Our mantra is, ‘We don’t want to be the biggest, just the best.’
“It’s all about sustained success over a long period of time,’’ he said.
Yesterday, the company said it had outperformed the market, with its new car sales increasing by 12 per cent, compared with the UK average rise of seven per cent.
After significant increases in recent years, the firm consolidated its used car business, with growth in sales of one per cent during the period, the company said.
JCT600, which now has 50 dealerships and represents 19 new vehicle brands, has operations stretching from Yorkshire and the North East to Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and employs more than 2,000 staff.
“Outperforming the market in new car sales is a signal that our retail offering, service standards and pricing are winning over customers in a market which boasts plenty of choice, and that’s down to good strategy, great colleagues and hard work,” added Mr Tordoff.
The businesses saw web traffic grow by 16 per cent over the year, and mobile search traffic increased by 58 per cent, which underlined the growing importance of the internet as a means of attracting customers.
Nigel Shaw, group finance director at JCT600, said: “This year also looks promising for us as a business. With the General Election safely behind us, we can look forward to a more stable outlook ahead, which will allow consumer confidence to maintain its upwards trend.
“We aren’t aggressive about expansion; maintaining quality is our primary strategy. However, we are in a good position for strategic growth with relatively low gearing for the sector. We continue to look at acquisition and organic growth in our existing and new regions where opportunities of the right quality are available,” added Mr Shaw.
The family firm, which employs around 2,000 staff, was established in 1946.
The current chief executive, John Tordoff, is the son of Jack Tordoff, who built the company up from a single garage to become one of the biggest motor retailers in the North of England.
In January, JCT600 announced that it was rebranding its leasing and fleet management division in a bid to give it a fresh, modern image.
The division, formerly known as JCT600 Contracts, has been re-named JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions. The stand-alone business within JCT600, has seen strong growth in recent years.