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"Excellent" Q1 trading puts Pendragon's underlying profit up by 10.4%

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Pendragon has described its 2015 first quarter trading as “excellent” and says its underlying profit before tax increased by 10.4%.

The car dealer’s trading update to the London Stock Exchange reports a 3.6% rise in aftersales gross profit, 2.9% increase in used vehicle gross profit and 9.9% jump in new vehicle gross profit.

Chief executive Trevor Finn said: "Our winning strategy of offering choice, value, service and convenience is attractive to customers and differentiates us from our competitors.

“In February we launched the UK's first "click and collect" service, which has been a success with customers and alongside our other initiatives, has helped used vehicle revenue to increase by over 8 per cent which has outperformed the market.

“We remain encouraged by our aftersales and new vehicle department results as markets remain favourable.  The performance of the group is in line with expectations for the full year."

Pendragon’s debt to underlying EBITDA ratio remained below its target range of 1.0 to 1.5, and the car dealer said it expects to remain around the lower end of this range.

Expansion of UK footprint

Online visits to its websites Stratstone.com, Evans Halshaw.com and Quicks.co.uk increased by 25.6% in the quarter, and Pendragon said it is now the largest player in the retail dealer website market according to Hitwise, with a share of 9% of all dealer website visits.

The UK’s largest car dealer has a strategy focused on ‘Choice, Value, Convenience and Service’. Its Choice and Service strategy includes website investment and strategy, while Value initiatives include its ‘Sell Your Car’ programme which guarantees to pay a consumer more for their car than Webuyanycar.

Its Convenience plan relates to expansion of its UK footprint to provide customers a truly national presence for its vehicle and service operations. Pendragon has recently opened new facilities for its used dealer points in Leicester and West Bromwich and will shortly be opening a site in north Leeds.

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