Shares of Altrincham-based car dealership Lookers plc rose as much as 8% on Wednesday after it said its first-half revenue rose 3.6% to £2.23 billion and profit before tax held steady at £49.9 million.
The company said the performance was “driven by increases in used vehicles and aftersales, whilst outperforming the UK new car market by 1.7%.”
Lookers will pay an interim dividend of 1p per share “reflecting trading performance and strong balance sheet.”
Despite supply problems, Lookers said demand for new vehicles remains strong, with the group carrying a retail order bank of 22,000 vehicles (June 2021: c.9,000) into the second half of the year.
The imbalance of supply and demand led to an increase in gross margin at Lookers from 6.5% to 8.7%.
The electric vehicle (EV) market continued to grow in the period, with EVs now representing 14.4% (H1 2021: 8.1%) of UK new car registrations. Lookers’ EV sales mix continues to be higher than the national average at 17.8%, increasing from 12.5% in H1 2021.
Lookers CEO Mark Raban said: “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 …
“Whilst mindful of the pressures facing consumers, we are confident in our strategic direction and retain our expectations for the remainder of the year.”