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Lookers seeks 'lost' business

Lookers believes it is starting to reap the benefit from investing £28m in its dealerships over the past 30 months. The group has announced increases of 6% in turnover and 11% in profits during the first six months of this year.

Chief executive Fred Maguire said other factors for the improvement were a training scheme and the development of a call centre.

“We decided to trace as many as possible of our 'lost' sales or aftersales customers from the call centre,” he said. “We had a success rate of up to 40% at the first six dealerships where the call centre worked on the database.”

Mr Maguire said the group was expanding its Liverpool-based call centre which employed 20 people.

In its half-year results, Lookers recorded a 25% rise in sales (excluding Northern Ireland) compared with a national increase of 2%.

Turnover in the six months totalled £297.8m with an operating profit of £6.5m. Pre-tax profit was £5.029m. Craig McKinney, Lookers chairman, said: “The result is particularly pleasing in the light of widespread reports that the retail customer is dead.”

Lookers' Rover outlets moved from “significant losses” to a small profit and there were strong performances by Land Rover and Audi, he said.

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