Lookers says confidence returns to the car market as cheap finance boosts sales

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CAR dealer Lookers reported record half year results as confidence returns to the car market and customers make the most of low interest rates to get a good finance deal.

The group, which has operations in Sheffield and Harrogate, said it now expects full year profits will top £60m, beating market expectations.

Britain’s fourth largest car dealer, which sells nearly 120,000 new and used vehicles a year, reported a 36 per cent leap in adjusted pre-tax profit to £40.2m in the six months to June 30.

Analyst John Stevenson at Peel Hunt said: “This is another record performance from Lookers, with first half pre-tax profits up 35.8 per cent to £40.2m, well ahead of our estimates.”

He said that Lookers is taking market share and delivering a strong contribution from acquisitions.

“Net debt has remained broadly flat at £43.7m, despite combined acquisition and capital investment of £35m in the first half,” he said.

“The motor division has continued to outperform the market in new and used car sales.”

The firm said it will exceed expectations thanks to a record performance from its used and new car sales division, partly due to the availability of cheap credit helped by record low interest rates and partly due to pent up demand.

File photo of a branch of HSBC in London, as the bank announced that profits have slumped by 82% after a year of "unexpected economic and political events". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 21, 2017. The London-based bank, which is Europe's largest, said on Tuesday that net profit for 2016 slipped to �2 billion from �10.8 billion the year before. Photo: Charlotte Ball/PA Wire

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