Lockdown and trading restrictions put dent in Lookers revenues

Lookers Preston

Car dealership group Lookers has revealed its long-awaited financial results for 2020.

The North West car retailer revealed revenues of £3.7bn for the year to end of December 2020.

That was down from £4.8bn in 2019 as sales had been impacted by lockdown and trading restrictions throughout the year.

Pre-tax profits had grown from a loss of £45.7m in 2019 to moving back into the black at £2m for 2020.

While the group hailed ‘resilient trading’ in used cars and aftersales, it had to make a number of changes during the year.

This included significant restructuring activity, reducing headcount, strengthening the group’s operating model and materially reducing the cost base.

Lookers is now on track to deliver annualised savings of approximately £50m.

An FCA investigation into the group’s historic sales processes for the possible mis-selling of regulated products between January 2016 and June 2019 closed without any sanction but noted several concerns relating to the historic culture, systems and controls of the group which the Board fully accepted.

This has resulted in the release of the prior year £10.4m provision.

CEO Mark Raban said: “2020 was a challenging year for the Group dealing with both the impact of COVID-19 and the Group’s legacy issues.

“We are emerging from this period operationally, financially and culturally as a better business, focused on putting the customer at the centre of everything we do.

“We expect to build on the strong momentum within the business, underpinned by our excellent manufacturer relationships, omni-channel technology platform and fantastic Lookers colleagues.

“We are now in a great position to benefit from the many growth opportunities available for the business.”

In the light of the financial performance during the period, continued uncertainty around COVID-19 the Board has decided not to recommend any dividends for the year.