The group said that used car prices rose 27 per cent in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period a year earlier. It meant that despite a drop in the number of used cars that the business sold, it still managed to make nearly £200 million more in revenue from them, up by nearly 17 per cent on a year ago.
The figures come as thousands of people added themselves to the waiting list to get a new car. The business - owner of the long-established Taggarts business and some Audi dealerships in Scotland - said that it had 22,000 orders from retail customers at the end of June, compared to 9,000 in June 2021.
But the revenue that Lookers got from new vehicles dropped 5.6 per cent to £970.2m. The drop was due to the fleet of vehicles that it rents out to companies.
Chief executive Mark Raban told investors: “Our first half financial performance was very strong, against an exceptional comparative period, despite ongoing inflationary pressure and vehicle supply disruption. We have also made excellent progress with our strategic priorities.
“We remain focused on our customers and improving our proposition to ensure the process of buying or leasing a car is as easy and simple as possible, particularly in the current challenging economic environment.”
Pre-tax profit hit £49.9m in the first half, from £50.4m a year earlier, when the group had benefited from £12.7m of government Covid-19 support.
Overall revenue rose 3.6 per cent to £2.2 billion. An interim dividend of 1p per share was declared.
The company also said that it would repay business rates relief of £1.5m that it got during the pandemic.
Raban added: “Whilst mindful of the pressures facing consumers, we are confident in our strategic direction and retain our expectations for the remainder of the year.
“I would like to thank all our stakeholders and particularly my fantastic colleagues across the business for their support and dedication.”