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Business News

HR Owen issues profits warning as high-end car sales slump


The darkening economic picture appears to have triggered some caution among the super-rich, with the luxury car retailer HR Owen reporting a slump in demand for high-end vehicles in recent weeks.

The company, which specialises in such prestige brands as Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, said it had also been hit by issues surrounding the supply of some new models "for which customer orders have been received".

The combination of weak demand in the luxury car market and supply problems means that HR Owen now expects to book "a small loss" for the second half of the year, although it remains on track to record a profit for the full year.

The warning marks a change from the company's comments in August, when it reported a strong first-half performance, bolstered by sales growth despite challenging economic conditions. HR Owen said it had sold 277 new cars in the first six months of 2011, compared with 240 in the same period last year, and its Ferarri and Bentley divisions had remained strong.