Evans Halshaw is the UK’s leading volume motor car retailer, with 118 franchise points nationwide. Evans Halshaw holds franchises to retail and service 12 brands for cars, vans and HGVs, including Citroen, Dacia, DAF, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, SEAT and Vauxhall, as well as the independent used car outlets Evans Halshaw Motorhouse and Car Store.
In 2016 business has increased operating profit by 7.2% on a like for like basis, demonstrating operating leverage as a result of strong growth across all departments. We are particularly pleased with our drive to increase used activity in Evanshalshaw.com, with revenues increasing by 10.2%. We have achieved leverage within Evanshalshaw.com with our operating costs as percentage of gross profit falling.
Stratstone is one of the UK’s leading premium motor car retailers, with 70 franchise points nationwide. Stratstone holds franchises to retail and service 11 brands, including Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and Smart, as well as Harley-Davidson franchises. We also have two Stratstone Used Cars sites, which sell and service pre-owned vehicles of luxury marques.
In 2016 business has decreased operating profit by 14.2% on a like for like basis which is largely due to margin reduction in new vehicles across some franchises. Gross profit has increased significantly in used, +10.0% on a like for like basis, as we rolled out some of our used vehicle initiatives and improved used volume and margin.
Quickco comprises our vehicle parts activity. We have seen a £0.5 million decline in Quickco profitability during 2016 as a results of lower activity and margin.
Hornburg USA represents the premium brands of Aston Martin, Land Rover and Jaguar, with nine franchise points in Southern California.
Our retail business in the USA continues to deliver exceptional results from nine franchise points representing the Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover brands based in California. In 2016 the business has increased operating profit by 17.3% and continues to perform exceptionally. As a consequence of the impact of the UK decision to leave the EU, the average exchange rate for the year of the British Pound to US Dollar fell from 1.52 to 1.34, which has been favourable in 2016 for the USA profitability when reporting in British Pounds. On a US Dollar basis, operating profit increased by 3.3%. We continue to seek opportunities to grow our presence in the US.
Pinewood is our software division which gives the Group a superior IT platform and underpins our proprietary intellectual property ownership. The business has increased operating profit by +14.9% in 2016 due to fulfilment of significant orders in 2015 and 2016.
Pendragon Vehicle Management
Pendragon Vehicle Management comprises our fleet and contract hire vehicle activity. The leasing business operated in a stable used vehicle and light commercial vehicle market place and underlying growth increased operating profit by +22.0%. The fleet grew by 12.9% in the period.