- Auto dealer Pendragon swung to a first-quarter underlying profit, despite a slump in sales, after it cut expenses.

Underlying pre-tax profit for the three months through March, which strips out one-off gains or losses, amounted to £10.8 million, compared to a year-on-year loss of £2.3 million.

Gross profit fell 6.2%, or 0.9% on a like-for-like basis, as store closures due the pandemic drove an 8.4% drop in franchised new vehicle like-for-like volumes and 14% drop in used volumes.

Pendragon said the combined impact of its cost reduction programmes and store closures resulted in a like-for-like operating cost reduction of 11% in the quarter. Interest costs fell 19.1%.

'We remain cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the remainder of the financial year given the ongoing levels of macro-economic uncertainty but continue to believe the business is well positioned to respond to any opportunities or challenges that may arise,' Pendragon said.

'We continue to withhold guidance for the 2021 financial year until we have more certainty over the economic environment.'

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