The H&T Group has reported another positive year with gross profit increasing by 12.9% from £78.1m to £88.2m.
H&T says it has produced a strong year’s trading performance against a challenging background. It attributes its success over the 12 months ending December 31 2018 to the development of its digital strategy and investment in improving the customer experience.
Overall, the Group delivered profit before tax of £13.5m (2017: £11.9m).
The retail jewellery business continued momentum from 2017 with gross profits increasing by 2.3% from £12.9m to £13.2m, while traffic to the est1897.co.uk retail website increased with higher volumes both of basket sales and click-and-collect store fulfilled sales.
H&T Group chief executive, John Nichols, remarks: “Development of our digital strategy, which is focused on complementing our store estate, has been an important feature along with investments in improving our customer experience and partnerships.
“As a result, we saw significant growth in our secured pawnbroking lending, largely driven by increased customer numbers. We also saw good growth in our unsecured lending with many more customers qualifying for our lower cost loans, and where our focus primarily is now aimed at further leveraging our store estate.”
He continues: “In retail we saw growth as we expanded our new jewellery range and the development of click-and-collect online sales. Click-and-collect also supported growth in our foreign exchange business.
“The Group’s performance over the past three years demonstrates the continuing success of our strategy to access more customers and markets. Demand for our products remains strong and with further improvements to our delivery capability underway, we look forward to the future with confidence.”
During the year H&T added one more store to its portfolio, making its door count 182 in the UK.
Over the next 12 months H&T will continue to develop its websites and enhance its customer relationship management system.