Car dealer Marshall Motors said it expects to report a pre-tax loss during the first half of the year, as it reopened its showrooms on Monday.
All of the company’s sites opened with new social distancing measures in place, including 117 car showrooms.
But it warned the “significant impact” of closing the showrooms, and what is expected to be a slow return to business as usual, are likely to result in a loss for the six months ending June 30.
It brings back many staff who have been furloughed since March, with their pay being topped up, initially to 100%, by the company.
“We are … extremely grateful for the messages of support and encouragement for the actions the company has taken from our furloughed colleagues,” said chief executive Daksh Gupta.
“I am delighted to see so many of them begin to return to work to reactivate our businesses and I look forward to remaining furloughed colleagues rejoining us over the coming weeks and months.”
The company leaned heavily on the Government’s support scheme, furloughing around 3,900 staff, or 90% of its workforce.
Mr Gupta said: “We are also grateful for the support provided by Government to both the business sector as a whole and the automotive sector in particular.
“Initiatives such as the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme and business rates relief have enabled us to take the right long term decisions and to protect jobs today in this vitally important sector for the UK economy.”
Since March 23, when the showrooms closed, Marshall Motors taken orders for more than 3,700 vehicles, down from around 19,000 a year ago.
Many of its garages stayed open to support the emergency services.
Directors said that despite the small loss that these services were running at, “it was appropriate” to keep the sites open “to support the country, particularly in light of the various Covid-19 Government support schemes provided to the business”.