Pendragon sees online activity grow in first quarter

Pendragon, the UK's largest franchised motor retailer, said it was trading in line with expectations in the first quarter as it continues to grow its online presence.

Pendragon, the UK's largest franchised motor retailer, said it was trading in line with expectations in the first quarter as it continues to grow its online presence.

The company said its online offering was an important driver for growth, with the number of visitors to the websites of its divisions including Stratstone, Evans Halshaw and Quicks, increasing by 20.6% during the quarter compared to the prior year.

The group's used vehicle volumes rose by 3.25% over 2012 on a like-for-like basis, sustaining the group's record of successive quarterly growth for the 15th year in a row.

New retail registrations jumped 11.2% year-on-year. Pendragon, outperformed the market, with UK like-for-like new retail sales for the first quarter of the year increasing by 16.7% over the prior year.

In the new vehicle segment, for the brands represented by Stratstone, national retail registrations increased by 14% in the first quarter while new retail sales increased by 14.9%.

For brands within Evans Halshaw, national retail registrations climbed 12.4% and new retail sales increased by 17.8%. New gross margin has rose by 20 basis points.

Quicks, the company's used car operation, improved profitability by £0.9m over the prior year driven by an enhanced vehicle margin by 430 basis points and 12.9% increase in used volume.

Earlier this month, the firm completed its refinancing, repaid its legacy debt and extended the maturity of available facilities. The new facility consists of a £175m seven-year bond and a £145m four-year revolving credit facility.

"The indicators for the market we operate within and our underlying performance are encouraging at this stage of the year," the company said.

Shares rose 2.08% to 24.50p at 15:01 Friday.

RD

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