Results show strong underlying trade, driven in part by cash for gold
Albemarle & Bond Holdings has announced positive interim results for the six months ending 31 December, with performance driven by contributions from gold buying.
Announcing the results, Albemarle & Bond chief executive Barry Stevenson said: “We are delighted to be announcing a strong trading performance when the business is also expanding rapidly and establishing a broader platform from which to target a wider customer base. The 32 percent year on year increase in the pawn pledge book is a key performance indicator as it is by far our largest business; this increase was achieved by market leading lending practices, higher average loan sizes and increasing numbers of new customers." Stevenson added: "This has been a good start to the financial year."
Highlights include growth which led to a 15 percent increase in pawnbroking gross profits year on year, due to new customers won from new store openings. The volumes by value of gold bought doubled year on year and total gold buying profits were up, despite a step down in sector margins. The group absorbed a 24 percent increase in costs to £18.8m, with £2.6m of capital investment and continued profit dilution from 2010 and 2011 store openings.
Stevenson further commented: “Due to the step up in the rate of new store roll out under our Five Year Growth Plan this will be the transitional year. It is clear from the research undertaken and the management team’s detailed analysis of the UK small loans market that there is substantial scope to market our products to a wider audience." In order to achieve its goals, Albemarle & Bond will expand its business by "adding at least 25 full line stores" and opening gold buying pop-up shops. The introduction of new marketing and branding strategies will also be a focus, with further incentivisation of staff likely to take place.
Stevenson concluded: “Externally our sector is becoming better understood and with this is coming recognition amongst
consumers of our competitive lending offering together with the quality and range of services we provide. We are confident we are well placed to take advantage of current and future opportunities.”