- Auto retailer Pendragon posted a first-half loss after the Covid-19 crisis hurt demand for travel as people isolated at home.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £41.4 million, compared to losses of £129.6 million year-on-year. Revenue dropped 50% to £1.22 billion.

The company estimated that the pandemic had hurt its profits during the reporting period to the tune of £44.1m.

On current trading, Pendragon said its performance had been 'strong' in the first two months of the third quarter.

July and August made a combined underlying pre-tax profit of £7.0 million, swinging from a £19.0 million loss year-on-year.

The company said its gross margin over those two months had improved to 11.9%, up from 10.2%.

September performance to date had been 'strong' and in line with expectations.

'The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our business during the period, however, thanks to the agility, hard work and commitment of our people, we have performed resiliently,' chief executive Bill Berman said.

'We've been encouraged by the first few months of trading following reopening and, while the outlook for the remainder of the year remains uncertain, we are confident the operational improvements we have made leave us well-positioned for the long-term.'

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