Cost-of-living crisis fuels boom for pawnbrokers
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Demand for pledge lending – loans against an item’s value – has “continued to gather momentum” since the start of the year, H&T reported in an update.
The chain’s pawnbroking pledge book stands at £84.2million – it was £66.9million at the end of 2021 and £48.3million a year ago.
H&T said: “Pledge lending remains at record levels with incremental growth month on month.”
Gary Greenwood, research analyst at broker Shore Capital, said: “This strong demand, in our view, reflects the impact of the cost-of-living crisis as well as the withdrawal of competition from the unsecured high-cost credit space, including through the recent closure of two of the leading home collected credit firms.”
Chris Gillespie, chief executive of H&T, said: “I am delighted with progress we have made in the first half of 2022 and the momentum with which we enter the second half of the year.”
H&T has grown from one London store 125 years ago to 250 sites in England, Scotland and Wales that attract more than 100,000 customers a year.
Rival chain Ramsdens reported recently that rising demand for short-term loans helped it back into profit.
The business, which also has a currency exchange arm, made £2.2million in the six months to the end of March.
Ramsdens said at the time: “With restrictions in the availability of other forms of credit and the squeeze on household incomes, we believe that the ease and simplicity of pawnbroking will lead to further loan book growth in the coming year.”
H&T also said it has bought Essex watch repair centre Swiss Time Services for £4.3million.
The pawnbroker was already a big customer and expects to send up to 4,000 watches there this year.
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