Altrincham-based car dealership Lookers plc said on Thursday its revenue rose 37.1% to £2.153 billion in the six months ended June 30, 2021, and it made a statutory profit before tax of £50.7 million compared to a loss of £50.4 million for the same period of the previous year.
Lookers said it intends to resume dividend payments as soon as possible and will next review the position when releasing its 2021 full year results.
“Given the strong H1 performance and the group’s ongoing corporate responsibility agenda, the board has voluntarily undertaken to repay all CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) grants received for H1 (£4.1m) before the end of H2,” said Lookers.
Lookers separately announced the completion of its board restructuring with the appointment of Ian Bull as non-executive chairman and Oliver Laird as chief financial officer.
In its outlook, Loolers said: “Trading during July and August remained strong, exceeding expectations, primarily driven by unprecedented used vehicle margins.
“Order take also remained robust and the group has a strong order book for September and the remainder of 2021 …
“Given the ongoing and well documented new and used vehicle supply restrictions, combined with uncertainty resulting from COVID-19, there remains considerable variation in vehicle delivery dates and availability and in this context the board believes it is right to retain its cautious approach …
“Notwithstanding this, the group remains well positioned for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.
“Therefore, current expectations for underlying profit before tax for 2021 remain unchanged after having committed to fully repay all CJRS grants received for the current financial year before the end of 2021.”
Lookers CEO Mark Raban said: “We have delivered a record performance in H1 despite significant COVID-19 related disruption.
“Demand has continued to be strong as we see a sustained preference for car-based travel amongst consumers.
“We have been able to capture this demand and outperform the market through continued improvements to our omni-channel customer experience which allows customers to purchase cars with us however they wish.
“The rapid growth of electric vehicles continues apace, and we are well positioned to maximise this exciting growth opportunity alongside our other strategic growth pillars.
“Whilst we are mindful of various short-term pressures, particularly around supply, with a refreshed board, a restructured business and an enhanced digital proposition, there is much to look forward to.”