Lookers results positive amid challenging market​​

Lookers has announced solid underlying growth in its positive 2017 results, despite the challenges facing the wider market place.

The annual results for the year ending 31 December 2017 illustrate a continuing growth trend in all areas of the business, with an increased turnover and adjusted profit before tax continuing a positive upward trajectory and putting it in a strong position to face current market pressures.

Further bucking the trend, the group saw a 6% rise in the sale of new cars on an annual like-for-like basis against a backdrop of a 5.6% dip in the wider new car market.

Used car sales were also up from 84,502 units to 92,105, playing a big part in the group’s 15% revenue growth.

There was also strong demand for aftersales, the largest proportion of the group’s business, with comparable sales up 4% and gross profit 3% higher on a like-for-like basis.

Andy Bruce, Lookers Chief Executive, said: “I think the most pleasing part of our results is that we were able to grow the business on a like-for-like basis on a gross profit level right across the board.

“New retail cars were up 6% against a market that was down 6%, which is a tremendous result. The used car market by number of transactions was down by 1% but we were up by an incredible 15%, which we’re very proud of.

“Our balance sheet is in great shape which gives us plenty of scope to invest in the business going forward.”

Lookers plc Annual Results for the year ending 31 December 2017

 Continuing Operations

 2017

  2016

 Change

 Turnover

 £4,696m

 £4,088m

 15%

 *Adjusted operating profit

 £84.7m

 £82.5m

 3%

 *Adjusted profit before tax

 £68.4m

 £64.9m

 5%

 **Profit before tax

 £58.4m

 £79.6m

 (27%)

 *Adjusted earnings per share

 14.57p

 14.38p

 1.3%

 **Earnings per share

 12.06p

 18.06p

 (33%)

 Final dividend per share

 2.48p

 2.36p

 5%

 Total dividend per share

3.89p 

 3.64p

 7%

*Adjusted operating profit is operating profit before amortisation and impairment of intangibles, exceptional items and share based payments. Adjusted profit before tax is profit before amortisation and impairment of intangible assets, debt issue costs, pension costs, exceptional items and share based payments.

**The reduction was largely as a result of an exceptional profit of £28 million on the sale of the parts division in 2016.

Operational highlights

• Total new car turnover up 12% and 3% on a like-for-like basis despite a reduction in overall market volumes.
• Total used car turnover up 19% and 13% on a like-for-like basis against strong comparatives.
• Growth in new car market in recent years underpins continued demand for aftersales, as the number of cars under three years old continues to rise.
• Continued investment in our multi-channel customer experience, especially the website, driving significant increases in visitor and enquiry levels.
• Strengthened portfolio of franchise representation.

Outlook

• Order book for the delivery of new cars in March in line with our expectations
• Used car volumes continue to show growth alongside momentum in aftersales
• First quarter result expected to be in line with management’s expectation

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