Car dealership chain Lookers plc has forecast that its full year results will exceed analysts’ expectations after a strong fourth quarter.
The Manchester-based company, which owns Charles Hurst in Northern Ireland, said that trading for between October 1 and December 31, 2009 had remained ahead of budget and last year after profit growth in its parts division and higher car sales.
As a result it expects group figures for the full year to “exceed consensus market expectations”.
The Belfast-based Charles Hurst group is Northern Ireland’s largest motor retailer and a major contributor to the Lookers group.
Peter Jones, chief executive of Lookers, said: “Despite the difficult market conditions we expect to deliver a record trading performance for the company in 2009.
“We believe that market conditions will remain challenging in 2010.
“Nevertheless, the strong performance from both the parts and motor divisions, supported by our strengthened balance sheet and reduced cost base, gives us confidence that we will continue to trade successfully through the period, and be in a position to pursue strategic growth opportunities as they arise.”
Lookers said its overall market share for new car sales was closing the year 13% ahead of 2008 levels on a like-for-like basis, while used car sales volumes were up 6%on the previous year.
The motor division’s after-sales business also saw increased revenue after consolidating its dealership representation in the UK.
Lookers’ said its parts division had continued to deliver further improvements in profitability and would achieve a “record result” for the year, with each of the three subdivisions of the business significantly ahead of both budget and last year.