Pawnbroker chain H&T expects all business segments to show year-on-year growth in gross profit, according to a pre-close trading update issued today.
H&T now expects that full-year profit before tax for 2010 to be above the top end of current market expectations, following record lending levels during the year.
Retail sales are expected to be flat for the quarter despite trading disruption in December but the group’s gross pledge book at December 31st was £39.5 million, up from £37.3 million at June 30th.
A statement from H&T read: “The key factors behind the out-performance relative to expectations set at the beginning of the year have been the group’s continued success in the gold purchasing market and significantly increased profit from pawnbroking scrap.
“Gold purchasing profits have risen materially on 2009 levels, supported by the continued rise in the sterling price of gold.”
Retail Gazette has previously reported how 2010 saw an increase in pawnbroking twinned with a decline in high street bank numbers, as rising gold prices and distrust of traditional finance increased footfall at store like H&T.
H&T now has 135 stores and 45 Gold Bar retail mall units in the UK after opening a further 13 outlets during the last year.