24 July 2019 – AGM statement

The automotive retailer has released a trading update covering the six months to 30 June 2019.  Although new retail vehicle volumes were down 10.3% we feel that the update was reassuring.  On a more positive note, strong performance in service continued and like-for-like revenue growth of 8.1% was delivered.  Overall aftersales margins also improved.  There was 3.7% growth in like-for-like used vehicle sales volumes despite weaker market conditions.  Used margins softened as used vehicle values fell at an accelerated rate from April but stabilised late in the period.  Like-for-like fleet and commercial volumes grew 2.7%, ahead of market trends.  Total volumes via this channel grew 9.7% due to the impact of the Vans Direct acquisition.  The share buyback programme continues and as at 24 July 3.6 million shares had been repurchased for cancellation since the announcement of final results on 8 May at an average price of 39.3p per share.  We continue to believe that the shares are undervalued and keep our BUY rating.