Auto Trader raises income outlook to £169m-£171m

Accelerating revenues
Accelerating revenues

New and used car sales website Auto Trader has revved up its full-year earnings outlook after hailing better-than-expected sales.

The firm, which attracts around 43 million visits to its websites a month, said that while the number of car sales forecourts advertising on its sites remained flat since its half-year, it saw sales boosted as retailers and private sellers placed more ads.

It said thanks to buoyant trading over the past four months, it expects full-year underlying earnings to edge ahead of City expectations, to between £169 million and £171 million.

The group posted underlying operating profits of £144.1 million in the year to March 29 2015.

Auto Trader, founded in 1977 as a classified ad magazine, floated on the London Stock Exchange in March last year at 235p a share and the stock has since surged by 60%.

Shares were up 4% after its latest profit cheer.

It is the latest dose of good news from the car sales sector after Pendragon posted a 23% surge in annual pre-tax profits thanks to record used car sales - up 11% to £15 million.

Industry figures also showed new car sales last month reached an 11-year high for January.

A total of 169,678 new cars were registered in the UK, up 2.9% compared with January 2015 and the highest sales figure for January since 2005, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).