March 23, 2020 / 6:30 PM / 7 days ago

Lookers and Marshall Motor temporarily close stores, scrap dividends

(Reuters) - British car dealerships Lookers (LOOK.L) and Marshall Motor (MMHM.L) said on Monday they were temporarily closing all their trading locations to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and were scrapping dividend payouts for 2019.

Store closures come as 281 people with COVID-19 have died in the United Kingdom, as of Sunday, with London hit the hardest.

Marshall Motor warned of a material impact on its business for the year ending December 2020 due to the shutdowns, but said the group had the financial capacity to withstand the impact of site closures well beyond June 2020.

Lookers, a 110-year-old company, said its online platforms would remain operational, and that its board was taking actions, including delaying capital expenditure projects, to cut costs.

Lookers’ chief executive and operating chief departed in November, after the company sounded a second profit warning within a few months as the British car market struggled with dwindling consumer demand and margin pressures.

The company added that it was too early to make any reasonable estimate of the financial impact of the coronavirus on the group during 2020 and beyond.

Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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