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Peter Vardy: Turnover falls by nearly £30m as motor group feels impact of ‘terribly difficult’ year

Peter Vardy.

Turnover at motor group Peter Vardy fell by more than £30 million during 2020.

Accounts filed with Companies House show the firm’s turnover fell by 6.5% in the year to December 31 2020.

It dropped from £471.15m in 2020 to £440.57m for the period.

Covid-19 restrictions are to blame for causing the dealerships to close their doors for around a quarter of the year.

Despite the fall in sales, the group recorded a 32% increase in pre-tax profit to £9.3m, from £6.3m in the prior year.

Online sales reached a record of 42% of sales while restrictions were in place.

In the year under review, the group operated six volume and six prestige dealerships.

It also operated two used car supermarket operations and a heritage cars dealership.

Its franchised businesses represent BMW, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, and Vauxhall.

The group recorded increased earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of £14.26m.

That is up from from £11.27m in 2019.

A ‘terribly difficult’ period, says boss

Chief executive Peter Vardy said the firm’s focus had been on the wellbeing of colleagues and protecting employment.

It did not make any Covid-related redundancies.

Peter Vardy also focused on ensuring the business was always open for key workers, investing in industry leading guest safety and giving back to the communities they serve.

The chief executive said: “2020 will be remembered as a terribly difficult period for society.

Peter Vardy.

“It profoundly influenced our colleagues, guests and communities in which we serve.”

To comply with Covid guidance, the group invested significantly in protective measures.

Those included thermal scanners, PPE for staff and additional health and safety representatives in all dealerships.

Mr Vardy wants to focus on growing the group, which employs 1,110 people across Scotland.

He said: “As we now emerge from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we are prioritising growing the business, creating new employment opportunities and continue to develop our Net Better Off Programme for our colleagues.”

As part of this process, the group has sustained its digital sales focus with the roll out of a new sales structure across the group.

It is supported by the SilverBullet online sales software.

Mr Vardy previously set the firm a goal of retailing 50% of annual sales through the online channel by 2025.

Vardy name in car sales since 1920s

The Vardy name has been synonymous with motor retail since the 1920s.

It first emerged with Reg Vardy in 1923 and was developed by his son Sir Peter Vardy.

He helped the company reach the top ranks of European motor retailers with over 6,000 employees in the UK and a turnover of £1.7bn.

The Reg Vardy business was sold to Pendragon for more than £500m in 2005.

Peter Vardy started the following year.

Peter Vardy now sponsors the Scotland rugby team.

Set up as a single dealership in Perth in 2006, Peter Vardy Group has grown to 14 dealerships across Scotland.

It also has two of Scotland’s largest indoor used car showrooms – CarStore at Glasgow and Dundee.

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