Albemarle & Bond boosted as consumers turn to pawn

PAWNBROKER Albemarle &amp; Bond said yesterday it expects full year results to be significantly ahead of expectations as out-of-pocket consumers continue to frequent its shops to exchange valuables for ready cash.<br /><br />Albemarle said it had upped predictions for the year to the end of June after retail sales rose in the recession.<br /><br />It also benefited from the higher price of gold, which has enhanced the yield on its unredeemed loans.<br /><br />Chief executive Greville Nicholls said: &ldquo;The company will deliver a strong trading result for this financial year and we will continue to focus on expanding our network of UK stores both through the opening of greenfield sites and through acquisition.&rdquo;<br /><br />The firm, which operates 114 pawnbroking shops in the UK, has performed strongly over the past year as consumers hit by the economic turmoil turn to more traditional ways of raising cash.<br /><br />In February, it reported a 19 per cent rise in half-yearly pre-tax profits to &pound;6.2m.<br /><br />The strong trading update echoed a statement earlier in the month from rival H&amp;T Group, which also said it had traded significantly ahead of expectations for the year to date.