MOTOR dealer Peoples has marked its 30th anniversary by posting a record set of financial results.

The Ford specialist, chaired by Brian Gilda, saw pre-tax profits in the 12 months to July 31 double to £4.05 million.

That came on the back of a near 27% rise in turnover from £146.7m to £185.9m, according to its annual report, which is published today.

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Mr Gilda described it as a "scorcher" of a year and said: "The turnover increase reflected a significant improvement in the new car marketplace in the UK, compared with the difficulties being experienced by major manufacturers in Europe.

"The profit increase is a consequence of the improvement in the new car marketplace, together with strong cost control.

"What is perfectly clear is that consumers rely on the feel good factor and it is quite apparent that they are still taking a long hard look at discretionary spending until their own jobs and incomes can be safeguarded."

Peoples sold 15,000 vehicles in the financial year, with volumes for new cars rising 26% and used vehicles by 29%.

Mr Gilda said incentives being offered, such as 0% financing and servicing deals, had encouraged a number of people to enter the car market.

He highlighted models such as the Fiesta, Focus and S-Max as having performed particularly well.

Peoples employs more than 400 people across its sites including Edinburgh, Falkirk and Livingston. In England it has three dealerships in and around Liverpool - at Bootle, Prescot and Speke Road - plus a further location at Accrington.

With further consolidation in the industry likely Mr Gilda is open to the idea of acquisitions and also indicated that he had the financial backing necessary to conclude deals.

He said: "I have no plans to go to the south of England or north-east of England so it would have to be in the central Scottish belt or the north-west of England.

"I think more opportunities will present themselves.

"There are a couple of things which are in my beady eye, but nothing which I could say come back and talk to me in a week's time."

Mr Gilda, who paid tribute to the other executives and workers in the business and also pledged to make sure all staff continued to receive a living wage, said the current financial year has also started strongly with sales around 10% ahead.

He said: "It is a bit early to say let's break out the champagne but 10% is better than I anticipated.

"The momentum is continuing on. The market stats for 2014 appear to show the market will continue to grow and plainly we want to get our volume and share of it as well."

While Mr Gilda, a Labour party supporter, has not softened his stance against Scottish independence, he said he was hopeful the level of debate around the issue would improve once the Scottish Government published its white paper later this month.

He said: "I hope the discussion becomes a little bit more positive in its structure and form.

"There are a lot of people who are just emotionally driven to have a separate Scotland, or who have a complete and utter unwillingness to think of a separate Scotland.

"The actual argument is somewhere between those two points.

"I still believe the best place for myself, my family, my grandchildren is as part of the United Kingdom, but I do not close my ears to the argument."

Mr Gilda is also going to participate in an enterprise accelerator scheme at Glasgow Caledonian University.

There he will share his knowledge and experience with students.

He said: "As I look through my business life there have been people who have helped me.

"Therefore an opportunity to give something back, particularly at that level and within Caledonian where there is a high mix of local students, has a lot of appeal."