Pendragon has published its full year results to 31 December 2020, revealing an underlying profit tax of £8.2m, following an underlying loss before tax of £16.4m in 2019.

Bill Berman, chief executive of Pendragon, said: “It has been a difficult year for many people and I’d like to thank all of our team who have worked exceptionally hard throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Their resilience and dedication meant we were able to deliver a solid performance in what has been a particularly challenging period for the car retail industry.”

Following the outbreak of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, Pendragon reported an underlying operating loss of £18.1m in the first half of 2020, while a strong recovery delivered H2 underlying operating profit of £36.6m (H2 FY19: £20.7m).

Total group revenue was down 30.5% year-on-year to £2,591.8m. Like-for-like cost reduction of 20.9% on the previous year, underpinned by government support programmes and the review of the store estate and structure.

Berman said that the company took “early and decisive action” to ensure the safety of its associates and customers.

“We also accelerated the development of our digital capabilities and introduced both Click and Collect and home delivery options for our customers. These actions, coupled with the positive progress made against our new strategy, provide us with a strong platform for the future and the results for this period show there is good momentum in the business, despite the external pressures.

“We are confident the improvements made to our business model over the past year leave us well positioned to navigate this period and accelerate our strategy during the course of the year and beyond.”

As part of the company’s restructure plans, in July 2020 it was announced that 1,800 staff were made redundant and 15 stores were closed.

Pendragon said the impact of Covid-19 had accelerated the review, which had already begun before the pandemic struck. The board decided a leaner and more sustainable operating model was necessary to safeguard the company’s position in a challenging economic environment.