Albemarle & Bond to open 40 Christmas pop-ups

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Pawnbroker also plans 25 new stores in the financial year end 2012.

High street pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond is set to open 40 Christmas pop-up stands in the coming weeks, part of expansion plans and a full trading report due to be outlined by its chairman at the company’s AGM, which takes place today.

Chairman Greville Nicholls said that, as of today, the company is operating 169 full line stores and 38 gold buying pop-up shops. It is also on track to open at least 25 new full line stores in the financial year end 2012.

“To date we have opened 10 of these stores and will open another four before December. We also expect to have 40 pop-up shops trading as we go into the Christmas period,” said Nicholls.

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“Very importantly, the stores we opened in 2009 and 2010 have contributed to profits which has meant that the overall profit dilution of the new store opening programme is lower. Stores in London are performing particularly well, and the group now has 37 stores within the M25 compared to 19 in January 2010.”

Albemarle & Bond enjoyed positive trading for the financial year ended June 30. Nicholls says this “good performance” has been mirrored in the four months since June.

“During this most recent period demand for short term cash has remained high, and with a strong gold price, the group’s services enabling customers to access good value loans by pawning gold jewellery and realise cash by selling unwanted gold jewellery have continued to grow.”

Albemarle & Bond’s largest division is pawnbroking and Nicholls says this has delivered “another consistent performance” with the company’s pledge book growing against “exceptional 2010 comparatives”.

Its gold buying has performed strongly through its existing, new and pop-up stores though the market for selling gold jewellery is said to be “very weak”, with the company preferring to scrap old gold jewellery for its better capital return.

“Other financial services [from Albemarle] delivered a solid profit performance with the encouraging volumes on the new Payday Anyway product starting to offset, as planned, the declines in our cheque based products,” said Nicholls.

The group recently completed a refinancing program with a five-year debt facility increased from £42 million to £65 million, which it says creates “ample headroom” to accommodate the future growth of the business.

“The good start to the year leaves us well placed to meet management expectations for the full year and I look forward to reporting further progress,” added Nicholls.

The AGM takes place today at the Collins Stewart offices in London.
 

 

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