- UK motor retailer Lookers said new car sales fell 6.6% in the fourth quarter amid increased costs and political uncertainty. But the company said used car sales remained stable.

Lookers also announced the appointment of Mark Raban as chief executive officer and Cameron Wade, as chief operating officer. Raban joined the board in July 2019 as chief financial officer.

Like-for-like unit sales of new vehicles declined by 6.6% over the fourth quarter, compared with a 3.2% decline in the third quarter and a UK market decline in new vehicle registrations of 1.6%.

New car sales continued to be 'impacted by the group's volume brands and is partially driven by a tactical reduction in lower margin fleet volume,' the company said.

Margin pressure continued throughout the quarter but at lower levels than experienced during the third quarter, it added.

'2019 was a challenging year for Lookers. The declining new car market, political and economic uncertainty and increased operating costs were all factors in the group's decline in profitability,' said Mark Raban, chief executive.

The used car market, meanwhile, remained stable, with like-for-like unit sales rising by 3.8%, above the 2.6% pace seen in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, weakness in the new car market was set to continue.

'The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders are forecasting a further decline in the new car market during 2020 and the business faces the uncertainty and impact from the practicalities of leaving the EU,' the company said.

'Trading in the first few weeks of 2020 has been broadly in line with expectations and the board remains focused on the important March trading period,' it added. At 8:11am: [LON:LOOK] Lookers PLC share price was +0.4p at 55p

Story provided by