British car dealer group Lookers has posted sharply improved 2009 results. Like-for-like revenue rose 4.2% to GBP1.8bn (US$2.4bn), while profit before tax increased by GBP26.4m to GBP11.5m. Stocks reduced by GBP56.2m and net debt fell by GBP70.5m.

New like-for-like car sales rose 13%, while used vehicle sales increased 6% with the strong performance continuing into the first months of this year.

“We are pleased to announce we have delivered a record trading performance for the company in 2009 despite difficult market conditions,” Lookers chief executive Peter Jones said in a statement.

“The parts division continues to benefit from the addition of new product lines and the slower demand for new cars continues to boost car repairs and demand for parts.”

“Although we believe that market conditions will remain challenging in 2010, we are encouraged to report that we have made a strong start to the year. The strong performance from both the parts and motor divisions, supported by our strengthened balance sheet and reduced cost base, places us in a strong position and gives us confidence that we will continue to trade successfully through the period.

“We continue to invest in new marketing initiatives, including the adoption of the Lookers brand across all mainland car dealerships, together with a relaunch of our website and enhanced digital marketing,” added Jones.