Lookers sees new car sales fall but outperforms industry

Lookers sees new car sales fall but outperforms industry

LOOKERS saw a decrease in new car sales in 2018’s first quarter but didn’t suffer as badly as the rest of the market, according to a trading update that it issued today.

The dealer group’s new car turnover dropped by four per cent, while the industry as a whole saw a 12.4 per cent fall to 718,489 vehicles.

Total gross profit from new cars fell by eight per cent, while there was also a ‘modest’ decrease in profit per unit. However, turnover of used cars rose by eight per cent and gross profit improved, it said, with a small increase in profit per unit, resulting in an increase of six per cent on last year.

New car sales make up 33 per cent of Lookers’ profits, while used cars contribute 26 per cent and aftersales make up the rest. It said aftersales performed well during the period, with turnover slightly higher than for 2017 and gross profit increasing by two per cent.

It made £30m from the sale of two properties under sale and leaseback contracts, which it said ‘had a positive and beneficial impact on cash flow’ and helped fund its capital expenditure programme.

In a statement, Lookers said: ‘The group has produced a positive financial performance for the first quarter of the year, against very strong prior year comparatives for the new car market and in an ongoing environment of subdued consumer confidence.

‘There continues to be strong momentum in both our used car and aftersales businesses, demonstrating the resilience and diversity of the group’s business model.

‘The financial performance of the group in the period demonstrates the effectiveness of our strategy of having the right brands in the right locations. The trading performance since March has been encouraging and we expect to make further positive progress during the year.’

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