By Max Clarke

The UK’s largest pawnbroker, Albemarle & Bond Holdings plc (LSE: ABM), have announced their 20th consecutive year of growth, with a faster growth trajectory achieved in the wake of the last recession.

Cash-strapped consumers have turned to the broker’s services as a last resort for managing finances. The group’s gold-buying service alone saw gross profits up £14.6 million, with a further rise in ‘Financial Services’ in lcuding their new Payday Anyway micro loan service growing by 16%.

“We have delivered a good set of underlying results in this period of transition for the Group,” said Chief Executive, Barry Stevenson. “It is particularly pleasing to have achieved a 5% increase in profitability, as we have yet to see the benefit of profit maturity from investments in the expanding store portfolio. Exceptional growth in the pledge book year-on-year has also aided these results, although this will start to normalise as we come up against tough comparators from last year.”

“Under our five year growth plan,” continued Stevenson, “we have made good progress in terms of developing the platform for a much larger business. Alongside the more visible store expansion programme, we are now operating from 202 outlets compared to 115 two years ago, we have invested in market research, people, training and our brand. As a result we have not only strengthened our existing core business but increased the opportunity to grow it substantially.”


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