Pawnbroker Harvey & Thompson (H&T) has announced positive preliminary results for 2010 following growth across all areas of business, with predictions for 2011.
H&T has seen success in the gold purchasing and jewellery retail markets, and is the UK’s first pawnbroker to have a pledge book of over £40m.
The H&T group saw 13 stores added to its portfolio last year, taking the total to 135, with more than 40 retail mall units adding to consumer awareness, making the pawnbroking process more approachable.
Highlights in the report include a gross profit of £66.8m in 2010, 30.5 percent up on 2009. The group has also seen a record level of lending and gold buying, with jewellery retail contributing £4.9m to the year.
Gold purchasing has developed through store openings, benefiting the balance sheet and bringing net debt down to £27m from £42.3m in 2009.
H&T commercial director Steve Fenerty said: “It has been a very good year and another record for H&T.”
“The second half of 2010 steadied out but our new stores are helping to normalise pawnbroking and are allowing consumers to see their assets are worth something”, Fenerty added.
The group has taken time to develop its stores and says its continuously evolving to improve the perception of pawnbroking. “We have improved our window displays, they are more modular, cleaner and we’re looking to add lifestyle imagery” said Fenerty.
Plans for 2011 will see the group continue its drive for customer service – something it feels differentiates it from other high street pawnbrokers and jewellery store. The group also boasts high staff retention, with 50 percent of its store managers working for the group for five years or more.
The group also plans to open a further 15-20 grassfields stores across the UK, with a focus on openings close to current H&T locations. Gold purchasing volumes are set to remain satisfactory with the anticipation that the gold buying sector will be a significant contributor to profits in 2011.
The group feels it has the advantage of being able to offer and wide and varied selection of gold jewellery, while high street jewellery retailers are focusing on fashion watches, silver and beads. “People like quality products and value and if they like gold jewellery H&T can offer them the full service”, added Fenerty.