Annual profits

H&T sees annual profits fall but loans rise

H&T has stores in the Black Country and Kidderminster

It also saw strong growth in borrowing demand in the second half.

The profit figure rose by 49.4% from £15.6m in 2020 to £7.9m.

The pledge book increased by 38.5% to £66.9m as demand for pawnbrokers has now fully returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Retail sales rose 21.5% to £36.2m with positive momentum in both the store base and online platforms since May.

Chris Gillespie, Managing Director of H&T, said: “The year began with a period of strict Covid-19 related business restrictions from January to April which resulted in a significant reduction in high street traffic and an impact consequent on revenues and profits.

“The company’s main strategic objective in 2021 was to rebuild the core pledge portfolio of the pawnbroker, which had shrunk by a third in 2020 as customers opted to repay their loans at a time when the need for very pleasing to report strong growth in borrowing demand in the second half of 2021 without hurting loan-to-value ratios, record levels of loans in December and an increase in the flow of pawnshop customers who are new to H&T. This momentum continued in 2022.”

Mr Gillespie added that in-store demand for new and high-quality second-hand jewelery and watches had returned strongly and steadily since the easing of trade restrictions from the end of April.

Online sales increased by 40.5% in one year.

H&T has opened five stores and moved two in the last 12 months, with more in the pipeline for 2022. It currently has 257 across the UK.

“I am extremely proud of the H&T team and how they have met the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our employees have met the challenge with resilience and determination, ensuring that our stores remain open and providing a standard exceptional service to our customers.

“We have a solid retail business, growing demand for pawnbrokers and with the expected return of foreign currency demand as overseas travel reopens, the group is well positioned to continue to benefit from the strong commercial momentum created in 2021, and to make further progress on our strategic priorities in 2022,” added Gillespie.