Lookers feeling bullish after ‘better than expected trading’
Car dealer group Lookers has reported its trading performance has been ahead of board expectations for the first quarter of 2021.
The group said despite its dealerships remaining closed during lockdown, it has continued to take orders and fulfil vehicle handovers through its dealership teams, call centres and website.
It sold more than 44,000 new and used cars compared to 49,000 for the same period in 2020.
Lookers said a combination of resilient aftersales performance and strong control of costs, has led to Q1 performance being ahead of board expectations.
It said the appetite for new cars was down 12 per cent in Q1. This was impacted by the third national lockdown. Retail registrations were 18 per cent down and fleet registrations were 6 per cent down.
Lookers reported like-for-like used unit sales were 6 per cent down on last year. It used vehicle values were robust and the group has continued its strong inventory management which improved used vehicle margins.
In Q1, like-for-like aftersales revenue remained resilient at 3 per cent below last year.
Lookers confirmed that in line with the planned easing of Covid-19 restrictions, its dealerships in England will re-open on 12 April 2021.
It said the group remained cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the year. However, based on the ‘better than expected performance in Q1’, the board’s expectation for underlying profit before tax for the full year ended 31 December 2021 ‘is now materially ahead of the current analyst consensus.’
Mark Raban, CEO, said: “The events of the last year have highlighted the inherent strength of our franchised dealership model and the importance of an integrated customer experience which fully embraces both digital and physical channels and we have been able to enhance our online capabilities at pace.
“As we emerge from lockdown restrictions, we look forward to welcoming customers back to our dealerships and with new technology and improvements to the Lookers proposition, we are well placed to capitalise on the many opportunities ahead.”