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Auto Trader confident on Brexit as profits climb to £242m despite falling car sales

Warning: Trevor Mather
Warning: Trevor Mather

By Simon Neville

Online car seller and trading platform Auto Trader has continued its impressive growth despite falling sales throughout the sector.

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Revenues at the business, led by Trevor Mather, jumped by 8% in the year to March 31, with pre-tax profits soaring 15% to £242.2m.

This included an £8.7m profit from the sale of nearly half its stake in the business-to-business Smart Buying division.

Bosses admitted that growth was unlikely to be as strong next year, but they added there were no concerns over Brexit.

However, the company warned that challenges facing the manufacturing industry - on Monday new data showed the sector contracted in May - were expected to hit the business, with reduced advertising spends.

The firm said: "Despite a tougher new-car market, manufacturers and agencies continue to see the value in our marketplace to advertise their new cars to consumers, with spend up by 18%.

"However the short-term challenges faced by both of these customer types did impact on our growth in the second half of the year."

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The number of cars on the site during the year was up by 2% to 461,000, although the company explained this was mainly due to a boost from professional sellers and sales of new cars.

Revenues from individuals advertising their own vehicles for sale dipped 7% to £20.1m, however, with the company saying this part of the business had been hit by "a lack of supply in older vehicles".

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