Pawn shop A&B counts the costs

 
Michael Bow
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TROUBLED pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond (A&B) spent nearly £5m trying to re-boost the company this year, helping provoke a 75 per cent fall in profits, figures published yesterday show.

The high street chain, which is currently seeking a buyer after hitting difficulties caused by a slide in the gold price, spent £2.4m on restructuring costs and £2.2m on shutting shops between January and June.

This included a £331,000 pay-off to former chief executive Barry Stevenson, who brought forward his retirement this year after the company fell into trouble.

Revenues for the full year fell to £107.1m – eight per cent lower – but these costs made the bottom line worse, slashing pre-tax profits to £4.9m from £21.4m.

A&B said the price of gold – which fell 23 per cent over the period – had hit trading in the second half of the financial year. The company made a pre-costs profit of £8.1m in the first half the year but came unstuck in January, making just £1.4m in profits over the next six months.

Chairman Greville Nicholls said since the company had been placed up for sale last week a number of suitors had come knocking. It emerged in recent days that these include rival pawnbroker H&T.