Pendragon lifts forecasts as its sales rise again

 
Marion Dakers
CAR DEALERSHIP Pendragon raised its profit forecast for 2013 yesterday and said it was “cautiously optimistic” about next year.

The firm, which trades as Stratstone, Evans Halshaw and Quicks, reckons profits will be materially ahead of expectations as sales of new and used cars continued to rise over the last three months.

New car sales rose 15.6 per cent during the first nine months of 2013, with an 8.9 per cent jump in used car sales.

Profits from after-sale services such as repairs and maintenance rose 6.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Pendragon expects to see a 17th successive quarter of used car sales growth and thinks the UK’s thirst for new vehicles shows few signs of slowing.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has predicted a one per cent rise in new car sales for 2014, as British motorists continue to splash out on new cars as sales in much of the rest of Europe continue to slump.

Web sales are also on the rise, with visits to Pendragon’s sites up 23.5 per cent on the previous year during the nine months to the end of September.

“Market conditions have been favourable this year, while the outlook to next year remains promising,” said chief executive Trevor Finn.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon raised their earnings per share forecast by 10 per cent following Pendragon’s update and said the strong run of results should help the firm pay down some of its debt pile.

Shares in the firm closed up 3.25 per cent yesterday.