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Car dealers growing despite pressures

PUBLISHED: 08:22 11 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:05 03 August 2017

Desira, Heigham Street, Norwich. August 2013

Desira, Heigham Street, Norwich. August 2013

Andy Russell

Two of the biggest car dealers in the region have continued to grow their turnover despite pressure on margins brought about by the economic turbulence.

Desira Group and Marriott Motor Group, both members of the EADT/EDP Top 100 list of Norfolk and Suffolk’s biggest companies by turnover, have both seen their revenues jump with good full-year performances.

Desira said it had “another strong year” after seeing turnover increase to £89.5m from £86m in 2015.

In a strategic report, recently filed at Companies House as part of its group accounts, the business said the main risks to it remained how manufacturers responded to the competitive car market and how the economy affected customers’ spending power.

Profit before tax fell slightly from £1.49m to £1.4m and a dividend of £200,000 was paid to its directors.

The group, which has its headquarters at Diss, has offices across the region including in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

It took over M R King and Sons’ Lowestoft site in April and at the time Desira said it believed the acquisition would add £10m to its turnover.

The firm, which employs 254 people, has also added a used vehicles site at Attleborough as the company continues to grow the secondhand market.

Meanwhile, the Marriott Motor Group, based in Ipswich, saw turnover increase significantly, up 13% from £160.5m in 2015 to £182.2m.

The Volkswagen and Audi dealer said its performance had improved significantly against a challenging year in 2015, when Volkswagen was hit by an emissions scandal.

In the group’s strategic report recently filed at Companies House managing director Paul Barnard said that while competition had put pressure on prices and margins, the firm’s short term strategy would aim to boost return on sale to 1%, from 0.36%, and the business would continue to look for growth opportunities with current brands and others.

Profit before tax more than trebled from £208,000 to £656,283 and the year also saw significant capital investment as it built a new Audi site at Ipswich.

Revenue from parts and servicing improved by around 10% while vehicle sales were up £20m. The group employed 349 people in 2016, up by 14 on 2015

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