Lookers optimistic as its reports record performance

LOOKERS, one of the UK’s largest dealership groups, has reported a record performance in the first half of 2012 with the company confident that it will continue to expand.


Revenue increased 3.1% to £1.03 billions (2011: £1bn) in the six months to June 30 with pre-tax profits up 9.4% to £23.3 million (2011: £21.3m). Adjusted pre-tax profits increased to £24.1m (2011: £22.6m), a 6.6% increase.


Chief executive Peter Jones said: ‘We are pleased to deliver another strong trading performance with the results for the first six months of 2012, which represents a record performance for the group.


‘Our motor division produced an excellent result, notwithstanding the relatively weak new car market, and the parts division delivered a resilient performance in challenging market conditions.


‘Operational cashflow for the period was particularly positive, resulting in a strengthened balance sheet. This gives us confidence that we can continue to grow the business and be in a strong position to pursue strategic growth opportunities as and when they arise.’


During the period under review Lookers saw its new car sales from 120 franchise dealerships outstrip the market. In the first six months of 2012, theUKnew car market increased by 2.7%, with total registrations of 1.06 million units. Against that background, Lookers’ motor division delivered another strong performance with new retail cars increasing by 11%, which was 2.3% ahead of the market which benefited from growth of 8.7%.


Total industry sales in the corporate sector reduced by 1.7% in the period and Lookers volumes in the sector reduced by 7.5% compared to the prior year. That is because the company says it is adopting a selective approach to avoid very low margin fleet business. The approach resulted in higher profits from fleet sales despite the company selling fewer cars.


In the first six months of this year, the motor division increased profit before tax by 14.1%, to £21.1m, a record for the business, compared to £18.5m last year.


Lookers says that it has also continued to grow its used car volumes, which increased by 11.1%, against the market trend. Aftersales turnover remained consistent with the prior year, despite continued pressure in the sector of the market.

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