Strong demand helps car dealer Lookers’ profits to accelerate

Car dealer Lookers reported record results for the three months to September 30, boosted by strong demand for new and second-hand cars.

The group, ​which has operations in Sheffield and Harrogate, said this momentum is sustainable and it is well positioned to deliver further growth in the final quarter of 2014.

Chief executive Andy Bruce said the firm now expects its annual results to be slightly ahead of expectations. Lookers previously said it expects full-year profits to top £60m.

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Mr Bruce said the company produced an “excellent” trading performance over the quarter, particularly during the busy month of September when the licence plate changes.

The firm, which sells nearly 120,000 new and used vehicles in Britain every year, said retail new car sales rose 11.7 per​ ​cent in the last nine months and used car volumes increased by 5.4 per​ ​cent on a strong performance in 2013.

​​Lookers​ ​has benefited from a recovery in the new vehicle market, with British new car sales hitting a 10-year high in September, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The car dealer has grown profits for five successive years, outperforming the country’s wider car sales market which showed steep falls in 2008 and 2009.

Analysts at Liberum said consensus forecasts were likely to nudge up after the update, which showed Lookers grow​ing​ ahead of a strong car market.

They upgraded their pre-tax profit forecast from ​£​60​m​ to ​£61m.