Charles Hurst sales eclipse half-a-billion pounds
MOTOR retailer Charles Hurst saw sales top more than half-a-billion pounds last year as turnover rose by 12.9 per cent.
The group – which includes Taggarts in western Scotland – recorded revenue of £505.8 million for 2015, up from £448.2m the previous year.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Lookers plc, said sales rose across new and used vehicles. It operates from sites across Northern Ireland covering car, motorcycle and van sales and has 20 brands at showrooms.
The firm also has four tyre outlets, an accident repair centre and a contract hire operation Fleet Financial.
Despite the increased sales, profits before tax fell 18 per cent to £7.2m. This was largely due to rising overheads and direct costs which reached £48.9m – up 13 per cent from £43.2m.
The firm said this reflected “inflationary salary increases and additional franchising costs driving the increased turnover”.
The company added to its workforce of the year with the payroll reaching 1,014 from 929 in 2014. That made the overall wage bill £30.2m – up almost £3m on the previous period.
Charles Hurst operations director Colin McNab said the “solid results” for the business, “reflect not only the continued improvement within the marketplace and increased confidence among consumers but our commitment to invest, expand and excel by delivering even greater choice and value”.
“The positive results also clearly reflect the hard work and commitment made by our staff and I’m delighted by the achievements which have been made,” he added.
Charles Hurst was founded in 1911 and its headquarters are located in Belfast on a 20-acre retail site, making it the largest automotive park in Europe.
Earlier this week, the firm announced the acquisition of Belfast Honda on Prince Regent Road. It plans to move the branch to a purpose-built showroom within Charles Hurst’s Boucher Road complex early next year.