Albemarle & Bond opens new stores as profits rise

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Pawnbroker plans to open 40 stores in two years as profits jump 75%.

Abemarle & Bond remains on track to open 15 new stores this financial year to June 30.

The company expects its 15 new stores to break even within 12 months, with another 25 planned for the year after.

Albemarle & Bond is also seeking to increase its exposure to the gold buying markets, which remain strong despite increased competition, with plans to open six additional pop-up shops. The group has already opened nine temporary stores as part of a pilot scheme that the retailer claims has generated excellent returns. Gold buying contributed £5.2 million gross profit to the company to December 2009.

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Abemarle & Bond chief executive Barry Stevenson said: “This was an excellent performance for the group. Our business is growing because we have responded effectively to a very positive trading environment.”

Albemarle & Bond showed a pre-tax growth of 75 percent to £10.8 million in H1, despite high gold prices leading to a five percent drop in retail sales.

The pawnbroker claimed the slump in demand for gold jewellery, which has followed through to H2, has been offset by overall performance and the decision to scrap second-hand jewellery rather than sell it through retail channels.

The pawnbroking business, representing 60 percent of the company’s H1 £26.4 million gross profit at £13.2 million, including the sale of ex-pledge stock, is now showing 10 percent year-on-year growth. The company is seeking to further expand this operation, using its upgraded operational, IT and e-commerce capability to facilitate building a larger, multichannel network.

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