Number of pawnbrokers jumps 44% in two years

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212 new pawnbroker shops have opened on the high street since 2008.

The number of pawnbrokers on British high streets has risen by 44 percent over the past two years, according to a new report by The Local Data Company.

The report reveals that 212 pawnbrokers have opened since 2008 with the top five pawnbrokers accounting for more than 57 percent of all pawnbrokers in the UK.

The Local Data Company director Matthew Hopkinson said: “The growth and spread of pawnbrokers from being a side street shadowy activity into a mainstream fast-growing retailer is newsworthy. From membership of the BRC, to prime pitch presence across hundreds of towns and significant profits, this sector has shown how it can take advantage of a recession and turn it into a boom. Is it a result of previous consumer excess in discretionary high value items, the 30 percent rise in the price of gold or the lack of propensity of the banks to lend – or indeed a combination of all three?”

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Cash Converters is the UK’s most prevalent pawnbroker, accounting for 17 percent of the market. Following behind are H&T with 15 percent and Cash Converters with 12 percent.

The Southeast has the most pawnbrokers in the UK, followed by Greater London in second place and the Northwest in third.

PwC retail leader Mark Hudson said: “A growing proportion of the population is not being provided with credit from the mainstream players, meaning that there are big opportunities for alternative providers of finance to step in and fill the gap. These have been able to thrive due to consumer demand for alternative finance and alternative income sources such as buying gold and due to the lower cost of operation since they are taking up space that would otherwise be vacant.

"In some industries, when businesses close, capacity is taken out of the market. With retail, the business may go but the space remains – and businesses and economic models will reinvent themselves to take advantage. During the recession, demand for credit has been constrained but this will pick up as we emerge from the downturn, so expect to see even more innovative fascia up and down the high street."

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