Gold helping to fill the coffers at pawnbrokers

CASH-STRAPPED consumers offloading their gold jewellery helped to boost the coffers at pawnbrokers Albemarle & Bond in the latter half of 2009.

The FTSE Small-Cap group posted a 75 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to £10.8m with revenue soaring 49 per cent to £394m. Its “cash-for-gold” division proved particularly popular with recession-hit consumers looking to benefit from strong gold prices and get their hands on some short-term cash.

“Consumer awareness of the higher gold price, alongside competitor TV and web advertising, has driven customer traffic to our stores,” the group said.

Gold hit a series of record highs at the end of the year, peaking at the beginning of December.

However, the company said its gold purchasing division is expected to slow down in the second half of the year.