Lookers upgrades expectations; strong finish to 2022

Shares of Altrincham-based car dealership Lookers plc rose about 4% on Wednesday after it published a full year trading update showing a “strong finish to 2022” and a further increase in full year expectations.

Lookers reported a further increase in the board’s expectations for underlying profit before tax for the full year ended December 31 to greater than £80 million, compared to £90.1 million in 2021 which included £9.8 million of COVID support.

The company said its share buyback programme continues in line with capital allocation policy, and the board remains committed to a progressive dividend policy.

Lookers CEO Mark Raban said: “We’ve enjoyed a strong close to the year, outperforming the new retail market, leading to an increase in our full year profit expectations.

“This has been achieved against a context of significant supply chain disruption and unprecedented inflationary cost pressure.

“Despite a number of ongoing trading headwinds, we have started 2023 confidently.

“Our strong OEM relationships, clear strategic priorities, financial capacity and above all the commitment of my Lookers colleagues leaves us very well positioned for the future.”

Lookers said trading in its fourth quarter was ahead of the board’s expectations with underlying PBT greater than in Q4 2021.

In its outlook, Lookers said: “The board is encouraged by the strength of trading in Q4 and the magnitude of our new car retail and fleet order banks entering into 2023.

“However, we are also conscious of the potential impact on consumer spending by external factors such as high inflation and interest rates.

“We begin the new financial year with confidence in the resilience of our business model and ‘omni-channel’ customer offering, and as such the board’s expectations for 2023 remain unchanged.”