Revenues at pawnbroker and loan provider Cash Converters’ network of stores across the UK and Australia grew 61.7 per cent year-on-year in the six months to December 31st 2010, aided by the changing face of the British high street.
Sales for its owned-stores in the UK and down under totalled $48.3 million, producing a combined EBIT of $5.6 million, which was up 55.7 per cent on H1 in 2009.
The trading period saw Cash Converters acquire six franchised stores in the UK and 13 in Australia, as well as open seven ‘greenfield’ company-owned stores in Britain.
When combining all the company’s business arms, which include various financial services, the six months represented the most successful half-year in the group’s history with record net profit of $14.3 million reported.
Cash Converters’ success in the UK is indicative of the way the British high street has changed in the last few years, with pawnbrokers among the companies becoming increasingly prevalent in town centres across the country.
Recent Local Data Company (LDC) research, commissioned by the BBC, showed that while former high street mainstays have either been closing or moving out of town, many restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, hairdressers and beauty salons have moved in to replace them.
Earlier this month, the LDC said national shop vacancies levels rose 2.5 per cent in the 12 months to the end of 2010, with vacancy rates in the UK increasing from 12 per cent to 14.5 per cent over the course of the year.
It appears that companies such as Cash Converters, as well as rent-to-buy retailer Brighthouse, have been able to move in and secure properties in locations where there is a growing demand for their services.
A statement published today from Cash Converters Chairman Reginald Webb and Managing Director Peter Cumins revealed that the company’s UK stores experienced retail sales growth of 14.1 per cent in H1.
“Cash Converters has previously released guidance for the full-year net profit after tax in the range of $27 - $27.5 million,” they explained.
“Following this strong half-year result, the company is well placed to improve on this target.”