Quicks' M-reg sales pull ahead of last year

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QUICKS, the car dealership, dispelled some of the gloom over August sales with reports that its M- registered trade was well ahead of last year, writes Russell Hotten.

The Manchester-based company, which reported first-half profits up 41 per cent, said orders at the beginning of the month were 28 per cent up, though business slowed in mid-August.

With manufacturers starting strong marketing campaigns in the last 10 days of the month, Quicks' chief executive, Alec Murray, expects trade to be up 10 per cent on last year.

Total UK M-reg sales in the first 20 days of August, at 326,000, are about the same as last year, something of a disappointment following a month-by-month recovery in sales during 1994.

Quicks' turnover for the half- year to 30 June was pounds 150m, including sales from the Laidlaw business bought in July 1983, up 53 per cent on last time.

Mr Murray said: 'The second quarter saw a weakening of demand, partly as a result of retail buyers feeling the impact of increases in taxation. However, August car sales to date are encouraging, with group order-take well ahead of last year.'

He expected to sell surplus property at the Brentwood dealership during the second half. Quicks shares rose 2p to 173p.