Lookers, one of the UK’s largest dealership groups, has reported pre-tax losses of £14.9 million for the 12 months ending December 31, 2008, compared with a pre-tax profit of £23m in 2007.
Turnover increased by 5.7 per cent to £1.78 billion last year (2007: £1.68bn) with the company blaming the losses on exceptional items (including impairment of goodwill) amounting to £23.1m, primarily in relation to restructuring and integration costs.
And, despite the recession there were optimistic overtones in chief executive Ken Surgenor’s financial results comments. He said: “We continue to believe that 2009 will be challenging for the new car market. However, our diversified business model and market-leading aftersales offering, coupled with the actions we have taken across our franchise operations and the anticipated realisation of £12m of cost savings in the current financial year mean that we are well placed to weather the uncertain economic environment, take advantage of any opportunities which may arise and emerge from this downturn as a stronger and more efficient business.
“The decisive action taken in 2008 to reduce costs across the franchise network has positioned the group well to outperform the new car market, and indeed our own like for like car sales for the first three months are 7.5 per cent ahead of the market.”
Last year the company’s new car sales fell 12 per cent. However, aftersales revenue increased 5 per cent and the its parts business delivered an 8 per cent growth in profit underlining the fact that vehicle owners are keeping their cars longer in the economic downturn.