LOOKERS, owner of the Taggarts chain of car dealerships in Scotland, has hailed “strong momentum in trading” and good performance in the new and used vehicle markets.

The UK motor retail and aftersales service groups also said trading in the four-month period to April 30, 2021 was strong in a London Stock Exchange update.

It said the positive trends have continued into May and June where it has seen “robust consumer demand and ongoing outperformance of the UK retail new car market”.

HeraldScotland:

Used vehicle margins also remain strong “benefitting from improving residual values and greater operational focus”.

As well as boost from market it also continues to benefit from its “enhanced hybrid omni-channel customer offer” and the “decisive” restructuring initiatives implemented last year.

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Lookers said: “As we look forward into the second half of 2021 there remains some uncertainty driven by the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and notable supply restrictions in both new and used vehicles, which have been tightening in recent weeks.

“Notwithstanding these uncertainties, given the strength of performance during the first half of 2021, the board expects the full year performance to 31 December 2021 to be significantly ahead of current expectations.”

It comes as the firm announced a short delay to the publication of its preliminary financial results for the year ended December 31 2020. Lookers said the accounts “are almost complete and we are not aware of any material issues”, adding: “However, the board and the group's new auditors, BDO LLP, require slightly more time to conclude the audit process.”

It said that “following discussions with its auditors, the group's scheduled announcement of the 2020 Results on June 29 2021, will be delayed”.

Lookers added: “The board is mindful that under the Financial Conduct Authorities amended disclosure guidance and transparency rules, the group's 2020 results need to be published by June 30 2021. The board's view is that this timetable is still achievable, but some timing risk still exists in the completion of audit processes.”

The group's balance sheet remains “robust” with a current net cash position of approximately £18 million.

Mark Raban, chief executive, said: "Performance in the first six months of the year has been exceptionally strong underpinned by our relentless focus on operational excellence, strong consumer demand, significant market outperformance and a much improved omni-channel customer experience."

Shares closed up nearly 2 per cent at 71.1p.