Albemarle & Bond to open more new stores as pawnbroking forges ahead

PAWNBROKER Albemarle & Bond is planning to open 15 new stores this financial year.

Albemarle, which makes loans against gold jewellery and diamonds, said the group’s pledge book is growing at around ten per cent a year, as recession-hit customers trade in their possessions.

Pawnbrokers have lately enjoyed record profits on the back of soaring gold prices, which have made it more attractive to scrap secondhand items rather than sell them.

Albemarle reported a 75 per cent jump in first-half profit, while rival rival H&T Group posted a 70 per cent rise in full-year profit in March.

The group said its nine “pop-up shops” have traded well and announced it is looking to open a further six gold-buying stands by the end of the financial year.

Shares in Albemarle moved up 0.5p to 240.5p yesterday, leaving the company valued at around £130m.

Analyst at Collins Stewart, Michael O’Brien, said: “Given current economic turmoil, the solidity of the gold price further reinforces the group’s business model.”