Vertu makes record profit from used cars in July as demand unleashed

Car dealer Vertu made a record profit from selling used cars last month as the economy reopened following lockdown.

Bosses at Vertu said that gross profit from used vehicles was up 13.7% on a like-for-like basis compared to July last year.

Pent up demand meant that the company made a £7.4 million pre-tax profit in July.

“July trading continued the trends seen in June and was significantly stronger than both what we envisaged and the group’s original business plan for the month,” said chief executive
Robert Forrester.

“A robust recovery in customer demand for our vehicles and servicing has continued, aided by our investments in omnichannel retailing.”

Investors took heart, sending the company’s shares up by around 10% after markets opened in London on Thursday morning.

The money it made from its sale of used cars helped push the company’s profits to beat last year’s results, but also its own business plan for the month.

The results included a job retention grant payment from the government of £1.3 million. All staff are expected to return to work this month, Vertu said.

Meanwhile, national registrations of new cars rose in July, its first “meaningful” uptick in 17 months.

Like-for-like volumes at Vertu rose 18.1%, and orders for September, a crucial month for the business, are 20% ahead of last year.

Mr Forrester said: “I would like to thank colleagues for their continued enthusiasm and commitment in delivering this great result whilst ensuring all our sites have remained safe for both customers and colleagues.”

Sanjay Vidyarthi, an analyst at Liberum, said: “New retail order intake for September (the second biggest month of the year) is currently running 20% ahead of last year, which we see as very encouraging and suggesting that there is more to trading than just the catch-up of pent-up demand from the lockdown period.”