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Positive Inchcape trading outlook built on ‘improved outlook for supply’

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Inchcape’s global car distribution operations have driven its year-to-date financial performance to ‘exceed expectations’, a trading update has revealed.

The London Stock Exchange-listed PLC, which signalled a shift in focus away from car retail after delivering its 2020 full-year results, said that it expects its full-year 2022 pre-tax profits to rise by at least 18% to between £350m and £370m on 2021.

Inchcape said that it had “continued to perform strongly, with results exceeding our expectations” in the period following its Q1 trading update back in April and said it was looking forward with confidence thanks to a an “improved outlook for supply”.

Attributing its success to distribution, rather than retail, the trading update said: “The better-than-expected performance is primarily driven by the Distribution business, where we have delivered continued quarterly improvement in new vehicle volumes and an operating margin above second half 2021.

“We also have greater confidence in relation to our second half performance based on the strength of order books in our markets and an improved outlook for supply.

“Based on the performance to date and our expectation for the second half, we expect to deliver FY22 PBT from continuing operations1 between £350m and £370m (published market consensus: £301m) at prevailing exchange rates.”

Earlier this week Inchcape revealed that its AM100 UK car retail operation had expanded its standalone used division with the opening of new stores in Stoke-on-Trent and Guildford.

The latest additions are its eighth and ninth and represent the latest developments in a bid to create a national network of 20 store locations.

Growth of the used car operation follows an AM dealer profile interview in which former chief executive James Brearley revealed details of the group’s new strategy following the disposal of 20 dealerships in the previous two years and losing the ‘retail’ classification from its London Stock Exchange listing.

Inchcape’s interim financial results will be published on July 28.

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