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Land Rover sales boost turnover at Barretts Group in Canterbury and Ashford

Paul Barrett, managing director of Barretts of Canterbury
Paul Barrett, managing director of Barretts of Canterbury

Strong sales of Land Rover vehicles boosted turnover at family-owned car retailer which has been trading for more than a century.

Barretts Group, which has dealerships in Canterbury and Ashford, saw turnover increase by 10.1% last year to £155.5 million up, from £141.2 million. Managing director Paul Barrett, the fourth-generation of his family to run the firm, hailed the performance of its Land Rover range.

The car maker sold 462,678 vehicles across the group last year, up 9%, and revealed strong sales have continued into 2015 with its best ever March sales figures. Mr Barrett said:
“The biggest driver for us was the success of Land Rover, which is having a very strong period with some exceptionally good launches. The car market generally has continued to grow, with the biggest sales for 10 years. Over the last four to five years we have been trying to reduce areas of the business that were losing money or weren’t contributing.”

Pre-tax profits at Barretts grew to £1.4 million, up from just over £1 million, with operating profit up to £1.9 million from 967,000 in 2013. Profits after tax were just over £1 million. Its motor dealership made up the majority of its revenues – up to £154,000 – while retail electrical sales actually fell to £1,400 from £1,600 a year earlier.

The company, which employs about 360 people, also saw its rent income rise to £297,000 from its “little bit” of property. Mr Barrett said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the year ahead and was philosophical about the impact of the general election. He said:

“The market is very volatile and whatever the result of the election there will be a period of people being indecisive. There will be a couple of weeks where people get used to what’s going on but then it will be business as usual.

Providing nothing serious happens in the economy to undermine confidence I don’t think we will see a dramatic change in the market. But things have a habit of happening which we have no control over. Lower oil prices clearly helped people buy cars but wage inflation is coming through which will add pressure. We hope this year will be better assuming the economy doesn’t fall to pieces in two weeks’ time.”