Vardy proved hardy in the face of pandemic shutdown, car dealer’s earnings figures reveal

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PETER Vardy Group managed to increase earnings during the first nine months of the pandemic, the car dealer revealed today.

The Scotland-headquartered firm said they had “an extraordinary twelve months” to December 31 last year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) were £14.26m, a 3.2% return on sales.

This compares favourably with 2019 when earnings were £11.27m, a 2.4% return on sales.

Quo Vardy? Onwards and upwards, despite the pandemic, insists the founder.

Turnover fell by 6.5% from £471.15m to £440.57m due to Covid restrictions which caused the dealerships to close their doors for around a quarter of the year.

Despite the restrictions, the group hit a record for online sales of 42%.

In the year under review, the Group operated six volume and six prestige dealerships, two used car supermarket operations and a heritage cars dealership throughout Scotland.

Franchised businesses represented BMW, Mini, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, and Vauxhall.

Chief executive Peter Vardy said: “2020 will be remembered as a terribly difficult period for society which profoundly influenced our colleagues, guests and communities in which we serve.”

Vardy said they focused on the physical, mental, and financial well-being of our colleagues and their families.

Protecting employment – implementing a Covid related ‘zero’ redundancy policy – was also part of the strategy.

The firm also ensured they were always open for key workers and investing in industry leading guest safety.

The Group invested significant sums in health and safety measures on behalf of colleagues and customers.

Measures included thermal scanners, PPE, and additional health and safety representatives in all dealerships and head office.

Vardy added: “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.

This is supported by the SilverBullet online sales platform software.

The platform allowed the group to facilitate “omnichannel” motor retailing and the introduction of an inhouse transport division which supported the growing demand for home deliveries.

Set up as a single dealership in Perth in 2006, the group has grown to 14 dealerships across Scotland employing more than 1,100 people.