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Lookers sees stability return to new car retailing

Lookers has a achieved a 47% increase in new car sales - compared to national growth of 4.3% - with operating profit up 33% in the first six months of 2001.

Fred Maguire, executive chairman, said stability had returned to the market as a result of the downward movement in car prices.

To June 30 turnover was up 26% to £374m (2000: £298m) and operating profit was at £8.5m (2000: £6.4m). Used car sales were up 32%.

Mr Maguire said: “Confidence has returned to the new car market with nine consecutive months of growth in new car retail sales. The market has been driven by strong private buyers with sales in this sector up 18.8%.

“The second half of the year has started strongly with July new car sales up 11.6% on the same month last year. As a result of the strong demand for new cars combined with the introduction of the first new registration plate system in more than 20 years we anticipate an even stronger September – at this stage orders are running well ahead of last year.”

Looking to 2002, he said the most likely outcome of the Block Exemption review was that it would be “renewed in a modified form which will benefit us as one of the major retailers in the motor sector and consolidate our position with our manufacturing partners”.

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