Lookers profits soar 20% on buoyant new car market

Car dealer Lookers has reported a 20 per cent surge in half-year profits and said the continuing recovery in the new car market should give it a further boost in the second half.

The firm, which last year bought Glasgow-based Audi dealer Lomond Motors for £15 million, said new car sales grew 19 per cent during the six months to the end of June, ahead of the 17 per cent growth experienced by the market as a whole.

That helped it deliver a pre-tax profit of £28m, up from £23.3m a year earlier, on revenues 20.3 per cent higher at £1.2 billion.

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Lookers, which has 126 dealerships covering 32 marques, also announced that chief executive Peter Jones is to retire at the end of December after four years in the role. He will be succeeded by chief operating officer Andy Bruce.

Jones said: “The continuing recovery in the UK new car market and the recovery in our parts division gives us confidence that we can continue to grow the business, deliver improved results for the full year and increase dividend payments to our shareholders.”

Investors will receive an interim dividend of 0.88p a share on 29 November, up from last year’s 0.8p payout.