Nidd Vale Group, one of Yorkshire's largest privately-owned motor retailers, is back on the acquisition trail.

This follows the sale of its 1.8-acre retail site at Pannal, near Harrogate, to Reg Vardy, for an undisclosed sum.

Richard Jackson, the chairman of Nidd Vale, said: "Business is booming for the company in both the van and car sectors and its Vauxhall dealership is on target to achieve record results for the first three months of the year.

"Projected new and used car sales for the first quarter are 14 per cent higher than a year ago at nearly 1,500 units. January and February were particularly buoyant for used car business and March has been spectacular so far, owing to the number of part-exchanges resulting from T-registration sales.

"New car sales suffered less-than-expected in the first two months of the year from the change in registration and confirmed orders already mean results for the quarter will set a new record."

On the decision to expand its BMW franchise in Harrogate, Reg Vardy's chairman, Peter Vardy, said: "We have seen steady growth in our business with BMW over recent years and with this new location we can enhance our customer facilities for this prestigious marque."

The development follows on from Vardy's acquisition of 12 retails outlets from the Caledonia Motor Group last month for £18.8 million. Currently, Vardy has 77 motor retail locations nationwide.

Vardy bucked the trend in falling prices for new and used cars to show a 46 per cent increase in pre-tax profits in the six months to October 31, 1998, to £12.3 million. Sales rose 38 per cent to £567 million as the number of cars Vardy sold increased from 50,665 to 66,715.

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