Lookers revenue nudges £4.7bn amid dip in new car market

Andy Bruce

Manchester-based car sales group Lookers has defied a 5.6% dip in the UK new motors market to grow its revenue to almost £4.7bn – up 15%.

The company’s pre-tax profits took a 27% hit, down to £58.4m from nearly £80m, for the year ended December 31, but the figure was distorted because of the £28m sale of its parts division in 2016. Adjusted profit before tax was actually 5% up at £68.4m.

Total new car turnover was up 12% and 3% on a like-for-like basis despite a reduction in overall market volumes.

Total used car turnover up 19% and 13% on a like-for-like basis.

Lookers said the growth in new car market in recent years underpins continued demand for aftersales, as the number of cars under three years old continues to rise.

Chief executive Andy Bruce said: “We have delivered a robust set of results with good growth across all areas of the business, demonstrating the resilience and differentiation provided by the Lookers business model.

“Against a backdrop of a 5.6% dip in the new car market, we have seen strong momentum in used cars and aftersales.

“We have made good progress with our strategy over the year and remain focused on having the right brands in the right locations, combined with excellent execution that gives our customers a personal, relevant and multi-channel retail experience.

“We have managed our portfolio of dealerships to reflect this goal and our franchise representation is well positioned for the future.

“The order book for new cars in the important month of March is in line with our expectations and whilst the new car market for this year is forecast to reduce, it is still at a historically high level. We expect to make further progress over 2018 with good momentum in used cars and aftersales and a resilient performance in new cars.”