Motor dealership Lookers said sales of new cars jumped 15% in the first half of this year as it powered to record profits and raised forecasts for 2014.

The Manchester-based firm, which has 127 franchised dealerships representing 31 marques from 77 locations, has been boosted by the UK economy and a return to more normal trading conditions.

The used-car market also showed signs of improvement with like-for-like sales up 5%, which helped adjusted pre-tax profits jump 36% to £40.2 million in the six months to June 30.

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The business said sales lifted 10% to 1.29 million vehicles across the industry over the last six months, and is set to top 2.4 million for the year, at least 6% ahead of 2013.