H&T Group, the high street pawnbroker and loan provider, suffered a drop in profit last year as fewer customers borrowed money during the pandemic.
The company announced this morning that profit before tax fell 22.4 per cent to £15.6m in 2020 as its pledge book fell 33.1 per cent to £48.3m.
H&T’s share price fell around three per cent following the update.
Pawnbroking net revenue fell by 12.3 per cent from £39m to £34.2m, due to freezing customer interest while stores were closed and the reduction in pledge book
Personal loan net revenue reduced by 25 per cent from £10.8m to £8.1m, as the book dropped to £5.9m from £16.6m.
There has been “reduced demand from customers for borrowing under existing economic conditions”, H&T said.
However, retail sales have been strong as consumers sought discount jewellery and watches, with the high gold price driving profits in both the pawnbroking and gold purchasing divisions.
That “more than offset” the weakness in H&T’s foreign currency business due to reduced international leisure travel.
The pawnbroker closed all of its 253 stores when the government announced the first coronavirus lockdown this time last year, during which time it launched an online payment portal.
It began reopening its stores on 12 May last year after the provision of short-term credit was added to the essential services list.