Car sales and house prices up | Revolution shuts bars

Car showroom Perth

New car registrations recorded the best year since the pandemic driven by surging fleet sales.

A 9.8% rise in December was the 17th month of consecutive growth and took the year’s total to 1.903 million – a year on year increase of 17.9%, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Pent-up demand from fleet buyers following the previous year’s supply issues accounted for most of the growth. Fleet deliveries rose by 38.7% year on year

While the overall new car market remains 17.7% below pre-pandemic levels, the surge in uptake compared with the previous year saw the value of new car sales jump more than £10 billion to around £70 billion, with 288,991 additional vehicles reaching the road.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) recorded robust growth, up 27.1% to reach a 12.6% market share. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also enjoyed a strong year, with a 39.3% increase in registrations to account for 7.4% of the market.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake reached a record volume – up by almost 50,000 units with 314,687 new registrations.

House prices rise

UK house prices rose for a third consecutive month in December amid a shortage of properties on the market, but are forecast to drop this year, according to Halifax.

Britain’s biggest mortgage lender said that property prices grew 1.1% in December, after a 0.6% rise in November and a 1.2% increase in October. A typical home in the UK is now worth £287,105, just over £3,000 more than in November.

However, Halifax said that the monthly, quarterly and annual growth rates were driven by a shortage of properties on the market rather than strong buyer demand.

Revolution Bars

Revolution Bars said it will close eight of its least profitable bars in England despite the group enjoying its best festive period for four years. The closures saw its shares fall 16% to 4.6p in early trading.

The company said it was continuing to face challenging costs and will need to meet the 10.8% increase to the national living wage in April.

Negotiations have begun for five of the eight bars to be transferred to other operators. It continues to operate 58 bars and 22 pubs across the UK.

Like-for-like sales rose 9% in the period from 4 to 31 December. Despite this, it said group like-for-like sales for the first half – including New Year’s Eve – remained negative at minus 2.8%. It will update on its first-half trading later this month.

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