In a statement, the firm reported that new car sales overall were up 12.6 per cent year-on-year in the three months to the end of September, exceeding the 9.1 per cent increase in the UK car market generally.
Retail new car sales were 11.7 per cent higher than in the same period in 2013, whereas the market overall increased by 10 per cent. Trading margins had also improved, the company said.
Fleet volumes rose by 19.5 per cent – more than double the 8.2 per cent growth in the UK fleet market – with used car volumes up 5.4 per cent, again with improved margins. Aftersales revenues increased by 6.3 per cent.
The company said the positive picture ‘highlights our successful focus on used car sourcing, pricing, stock management and ongoing increases in sales leads and inquiries’.
These, it said, were ‘generated by the group website Lookers.co.uk in which we continue to invest to deliver greater functionality’.
London-listed Lookers runs 200 dealerships across the UK and represents manufacturers such as Ford and Nissan. The company sells nearly 120,000 new and used cars every year.
On the back of its trading performance so far this year, Lookers said its full-year results would be ‘slightly ahead of current market expectations, which will represent a significant increase over the result for the previous financial year’.
It added that the momentum achieved so far was sustainable and that ‘the group is positioned to deliver further growth in the final quarter of 2014’ after its ‘excellent’ results so far.
The dealer group has increased its profit levels for five years in a row, with observers forecasting that its full-year pre-tax profit figure for 2014 will be closer to £61 million rather than the £60 million previously envisaged.