Car retailers posted negative returns in the second quarter, but they rebounded slightly. Indeed, 13 of the 17 publicly-traded groups posted a positive payback.
'The retail index has benefited generally from increased communication of e-commerce strategies among some of the constituents,' said Steve Utting of PricewaterhouseCoopers. 'In particular, there is a greater recognition that traditional retail companies have a role to play in fulfilment of internet orders, servicing and warranty work.'
The index of retail stocks declined by 5.66 percent in the April to June period. The same index declined by 18.98 percent in the year that ended June 30.
Over the past three years, retail companies have performed far worse than automakers and suppliers. Investor value declined by 16.3 percent between July 1, 1997 and June 30, 2000.
The top-performing retailer in the second quarter was UK dealer group DC Cook, which improved 46.74 percent. DC Cook was one of the first UK retailers to import continental cars this year and it has been running a trial of an online business in recent months.
Sanderson Bramall, the UK's fourth-largest dealer group, was a close second in the quarter, with a gain of 45.51 percent in the April to June period. Sanderson Bramall's stock price rose when a share repurchase program was approved, allowing the company to repurchase up to 10 percent of its shares. The UK retailer also reported strong first quarter results and has outlined an internet strategy.
The second quarter retail index was dragged down by a 27.58 percent fall for UK distribution giant Lex Service in the period. Most retailers did far better in the second quarter than they have over the past three years. The top nine finishers in the retail chart had shareholder value gains of 10 percent or more in the second quarter.
The top performer in the 12 months that ended June 30 was Dixon Motors, the UK's third-largest dealer group, with a return of 64.69 percent. Athlon Groep of Holland was best in the three-year category, with a gain of 127.99 percent.