Dealer group Lookers has delivered an ‘outstanding’ performance in the first half of this year, and has revised its underlying profit projection upwards by nearly £14m.
In a trading update issued today (Jul 29) to the London Stock Exchange, Lookers said that as a result of an excellent trading performance during the period, it had upped its projected underlying profit before tax from £36.1m to £50m.
It said compared with the same period last year, like-for-like total new car sales were up 45 per cent, while used units were up 38 per cent and aftersales revenue rose by 34 per cent.
In the update, the dealer group said ‘this positive momentum has been driven by continued outperformance of the UK new retail car market combined with strong used volumes and margins, underpinned by Lookers’ improved hybrid, omni-channel customer experience’.
Lookers also said that its H1 results included £13m of government handouts (£4m in furlough cash and £9m in business rates relief and grants), and that it didn’t expect to apply for more Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme support in the second half of this year.
The update said that as of June 30, 2021, the company had a net cash balance of approximately £30m, compared with £11m last year and £40.7m at December 31, 2020.
It has a revolving credit facility for an initial £150m that was recently extended to September 30, 2023. Its balance sheet remains underpinned by a property portfolio of around £300m (77p per share).
CEO Mark Raban said: ‘The business has delivered an outstanding performance in the first half of the year, despite the multiple difficulties presented by the pandemic.
‘The whole team has made extraordinary efforts to ensure our customers continue to receive an excellent service, however they choose to purchase a car through Lookers, and the enhancements made to our digital proposition have made a real difference.
‘There remains some uncertainty and challenges for the second half, but given the current momentum in the business, coupled with our focus on operational excellence and continuous development of our omni-channel customer experience, the board is confident of delivering a strong result for the year.’
The dealer group said it had emerged from the previous 12 months as ‘a better business’.