Lookers PLC Q1 Trading Update
RNS Number : 7483U
08 April 2021
8 April 2021
Q1 Trading Update - Performance ahead of expectations
Lookers plc (the "Group"), one of the leading UK motor retail
and aftersales service groups, provides the following trading
update for the three-month period ended 31 March 2021 ("Q1").
In line with Covid-19 restrictions, the Group's dealerships
remained closed throughout Q1. However, the Group continued to take
orders and fulfil vehicle handovers through its dealership teams,
call centres and website. These activities were underpinned by our
new Click and Drive and contactless technology platform, which has
allowed us to service the increased demand through digital
channels. The Group's aftersales services were fully operational
Despite the restrictions, Q1 trading performance was better than
expected. The Group sold over 44,000 (2020: 49,000) new and used
vehicles which, combined with the resilient aftersales performance
and strong control of costs, has led to Q1 performance being ahead
of Board expectations.
SMMT UK market figures for new car registrations to retail and
fleet customers were 1 2 % down in Q1, impacted by the third
national lockdown. Retail registrations were 18 % down and fleet
registrations were 6 % down.
Against this backdrop, the Group significantly outperformed the
UK retail market with flat like-for-like unit sales, achieving a
market share of circa 7 %.
The Group continues to reposition its fleet activities focusing
on business which maximises margin retention and working capital
efficiency. On a like-for-like basis, unit sales to fleet customers
were down by 15%.
In Q1, like-for-like used unit sales were 6% down on last year.
Used vehicle values were robust and the Group has continued its
strong inventory management which improved used vehicle
In Q1, like-for-like aftersales revenue remained resilient at 3%
below last year.
In line with the planned easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the
Group's dealerships in England will re-open on 12 April 2021. The
continued provision of a safe operating environment for our
colleagues and customers remains the Board's key priority.
Given ongoing uncertainty around both Covid-19 and consumer
sentiment, the Board believes it is right to remain cautious about
the outlook for the remainder of the year. However, based on the
better than expected performance in Q1, the Board's expectation for
underlying profit before tax for the full year ended 31 December
2021 is now
materially ahead of the current analyst consensus(1) .
Mark Raban, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
"Despite the challenges presented by the third national
lockdown, we have performed ahead of our expectations in Q1. Our
colleagues and customers have shown great resilience and
flexibility, fully embracing new technology, amidst a difficult
"The events of the last year have highlighted the inherent
strength of our franchised dealership model and the importance of
an integrated customer experience which fully embraces both digital
and physical channels and we have been able to enhance our online
capabilities at pace.
"As we emerge from lockdown restrictions, we look forward to
welcoming customers back to our dealerships and with new technology
and improvements to the Lookers proposition, we are well placed to
capitalise on the many opportunities ahead."
(1) Management understands analyst consensus for underlying
profit before tax for the full year ended 31 December 2021 to be
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes
of article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014. The
person responsible for making this announcement is the Company
Lookers plc Tel: 0161 291 0043
Mark Raban, Chief Executive Officer
Anna Bielby, Interim Chief Financial
MHP Communications Tel: 07709 496 125 / 020 3128
Alistair de-Kare Silver
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 08, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)