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Lookers confident for growth

Lookers is confident of delivering another year of growth despite its new car sales dropping by 5% on a like-for-like basis during the first quarter.

The group told shareholders at its AGM that its Northern Ireland business experienced tougher market conditions than the rest of the United Kingdom which dragged down sales figures.

The group added that while it started the current financial year with a much stronger business compared to last year, it remains cautious about organic growth in new car sales within its franchise division.

Lookers it would deliver results in line with market expectations as long as there is “no further significant deterioration in the UK’s economy”.

The company’s acquisitions of Dutton-Forshaw and Bramall and Jones VW are expected to help boost profits in 2008.

These, together with the continuing investment in the independent aftermarket parts division, and the turnaround in the car supermarkets, will contribute positively to the outcome in the current year, the group added.

Phil White, Lookers chairman, said: “While the trading environment for new cars is as challenging as expected, we continue to make progress given our diversified business model and with the positive impact of the Dutton Forshaw acquisition and the return of our used car supermarket business to profitability.”

White also said Lookers’ independent aftermarket parts division made a strong start to the year, representing 54% of the group’s profits in 2007.

Lookers will be looking to relocate its FPS branches in Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow to larger sites before then end of 2008 in order to support the growth of that part of the business.

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