LONDON (Reuters) - Car dealership chain Lookers (LSE: LOOK.L - news) posted a 12.4 percent rise in full-year profit, helped by growing new car sales in Britain, the only bright spot in Europe's auto industry.
The company, which owns Scottish brand Taggarts and the Charles Hurst brand in Northern Ireland, on Wednesday reported a 2012 pretax profit of 35.3 million pounds on revenues 8.4 percent up at 2.06 billion pounds.
New and used car sales grew 12 percent during the year, though revenues at its part division were flat as Britons curbed non-essential spending on car repairs.
European car sales slumped to a 17-year low in 2012 with only Britain bucking the trend with 5.3 percent growth, although at just over 2 million vehicles, sales were still 15 percent below the market peak in 2007.
Lookers, which runs 121 franchise dealerships, said 2013 had started well, with results so far ahead of 2012.
The company increased the total dividend by 8 percent to 2.35 pence per share.
(Reporting by Rhys Jones, Editing by Brenda Goh)