Bells Motor Group saw profits soar to £1.4m last year after the firm claimed close to £400,000 in furlough cash, the dealer group’s annual accounts have revealed.
A full report posted on the Companies House website showed that the Northamptonshire-based company saw pre-tax profit rise from £1m in 2019.
The rise in profit is almost identical to the £399,159 that the firm received in furlough payments via the government’s job retention scheme.
That was despite the fact that turnover fell from £79m in 2019 to £65.7m in 2020 – a drop of close to 17 per cent.
Bells has a number of Volvo and Kia dealerships in the Northampton and Bedfordshire regions.
Last year it saw new Volvo sales slide by 31.9 per cent, while Kia sales dropped by 24.7 per cent.
Elsewhere, used vehicle sales fell by 17.5 per cent.
In his statement to Companies House, CEO Clive Bell said it had been a year where ‘business, in many respects, was secondary’.
He said: ‘It was a year when personal health took precedent and protecting our NHS in the UK a must to save the lives of many.
‘Business, in many respects, was secondary to all the above, with the focus to protect staff and customers whilst managing the business through the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘With the pandemic far from over, I will continue to be mindful and react quickly to the day-to-day challenges surrounding Covid-19, to limit the risk to my team and all of our customers, to allow us to continue trading in these different times.
‘I would like to express my sincere thanks to all my team at Bells, along with Volvo and Kia, who have supported this business over the past 12 months.
‘The business has learnt a huge amount during the pandemic, with all departments being rebuilt, with new procedures and focuses to enable us to continue to produce strong trading results in the challenging times.’
Bells is just the latest dealer group to announce a handsome profit despite the pandemic.
Car Dealer has previously reported that Motorline doubled 2020 pre-tax profits to £6.1m.
It was also a successful year for Yeomans, which doubled profits after claiming £2.53m in furlough grants.
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