Car dealership Lookers sees surge in sales

A surge in demand for new and used cars as people continue to shun public transport has boosted sales at car dealership Lookers.

The company, which operates from more than 150 sites, traded particularly well in the September plate change month as new vehicle revenues for the quarter to the end of last month rose by 27.1% on a year earlier.

When including used cars, Lookers sold more than 42,000 vehicles for a like-for-like gain of 13.6%.

The group added: “This growth was fuelled by the release of pent up demand from over two months of closure and the ongoing trend of private car use instead of public transport.”

The industry’s current sweet spot is also likely to reflect the fact that households who saved money during the lockdown have bought a car instead of going on holiday.

Lookers expects the surge in profitability in the third quarter to largely offset the heavy lockdown-driven loss it is due to report in next month’s delayed interim results.

Shares in the company are currently suspended after the publication of its 2019 accounts was hit by revelations that its profits were overstated by £19 million over a period of several years. It made the estimate in June after an investigation by accountant Grant Thornton.

Lookers expects the 2019 results and 2020 interim results to be published in November.

Chief executive Mark Raban said: “Naturally, we remain cautious around the future outlook given the ongoing Covid-19 backdrop but we are well positioned to deal with any emerging challenges.”

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