Europe's publicly-traded retailers achieved a broad-based recovery in the third quarter.
Only two of the 17 groups included in the Automotive News Europe/PricewaterhouseCoopers Total Shareholder Return Index posted a negative return.
Investor sentiment for the sector was helped by completion of the UK government's inquiry into car pricing and the resulting wave of price cuts from car manufacturers.
'This has helped remove uncertainty in the market and raised expectations of a mild recovery in UK vehicle sales,' according to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Overall, the publicly-traded retail groups in Europe returned a combined 14.12 percent - well ahead of Europe's stock market benchmarks and better than both the car manufacturer and automotive supplier sectors.
But returns in the retail sector are still poor when measured over a longer period. Retailers showed a decline of 9.39 percent for the full year that ended on September 30.
The index measures European retail companies with sales of over E250 million.
UK dealer Quicks Group soared to first place among retailers in the July-September survey. Its total return over the three-month period was 42.41 percent.
Quicks reported a 63 percent increase in half-year pretax profits that it attributed mainly to more profitable aftermarket parts operations. The company said it turned to cheaper European component suppliers and improved efficiencies in its parts division.
In addition, Quicks' e-commerce application, Quickco On-Line, went live in July, enabling UK customers to order Ford and Iveco Ford parts.
Dutch retail group Athlon Groep - No. 1 among retailers over the past 36 months - lost value in the third quarter. Total shareholder return fell 26.61 percent.
The decline followed a cut in its full-year profit outlook attributed to rising wages and declining used-car values.
Pendragon, the UK's largest retailer, moved up sharply in the quarter. Total return increased 37.06 percent in the period.
Pendragon benefited in the third quarter from the announcement of plans to acquire two leading Jaguar dealers in Munich.
It has also announced the disposal of its standalone bodyshop business.