Britain

H&T looks to future with confidence as loan book grows

The group's performance over the past three years demonstrates the continuing success of our strategy to access more customers and markets

John Nichols, chief executive

Its pawnbroking business buys and sells used jewellery, watches, gold, handbags and art.

The group also provides in-store personal loans of up to £5,000 and sells foreign currency to holidaymakers.

How it's doing

Increased pawnbroking, personal lending and retail activity drove the first-half increase in pre-tax profits.

Profit before tax (PBT) rose to £6.8mln in the first half of 2019 from £6.3mln the year before on revenue that rose to £70.0mln from £68.5mln.

The group said it saw growth in its pawnbroking business, an increase in customer lending and a rise in the number of new customers.

The relatively new foreign currency side of the business is also growing, driven by improved systems and in-store displays.

The net pledge book, including accrued interest, increased by 3.8% to £53.8mln from £47.8mln at the end of June 2018.

The demand for small-sum, short-term cash loans remains strong, H&T asserted.

Net debt narrowed to £11.6mln from £16.8mln a year earlier.

Since the end of the reporting period, the group has acquired 65 sites previously occupied by a competitor company, The Money Shop, thereby increasing its estate to 248 stores.

In October, H&T acquired 113 pledge books from bust rival Albemarle & Bond (A&B) for £8mln in cash, guaranteeing its customers can retrieve their goods.

What the CEO says:

Chief executive John Nichols said the development of the groups digital strategy, which is focused on complementing the store estate, has been an important feature along with investments in improving customer experience and partnerships.

"The group's performance over the past three years demonstrates the continuing success of our strategy to acceRead More – Source