H&T Group, the parent company of the H&T Pawnbrokers and Est1897, has recorded a 45.7% increase in pre-tax profits to £20.1m in the full year ended December 31, 2019.
The retail arm of the business recorded a sales growth of 8.4%, with gross profits increasing by 3.0% from £13.2m to £13.6m.
Online has been particularly strong, with traffic to the est1897.co.uk retail website increasing by 26% with £4.0m of online generated sales driven by higher volumes of basket and click-and-collect store fulfilled sales.
During the year the Group added 70 new stores and 159 pledge books following Money Shop and A&B acquisitions.
The chief exec believe this put the business in a strong position for growth.
“Following two successful acquisitions, a strong core operating performance and a beneficial gold price we have produced an exceptional year’s trading performance,” remarks the Group’s chief executive, John Nichols.
“We have made good progress in delivering our strategic goals in the past year, particularly in significantly growing our asset base by acquiring trading sites and pledge books. I am delighted with progress integrating these trading sites and assets, with financial performance meeting our expectations. We continue to develop our digital strategy complementing our enlarged store estate.”
The retail side of the business has been improved through offering an expanded range of new jewellery and development both click-and-collect and online sales.
Meanwhile, further growth in pawnbroking has primarily been driven by increased customer transactions and the opportunity to serve more customers following acquisitions made during the year.
The ongoing refinement and rationalisation of the Group’s personal loan product offering has improved lending return.
“The Group’s growing momentum demonstrates the success of our strategy and the demand for our pawnbroking and related products remains strong. We look forward with confidence whilst remaining mindful of the external factors and current macro uncertainties.”
Strengthening omnichannel functions will play an important part in the Group’s strategy going forward.