Pawnbroker suffers plunge in profits

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Troubled pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond, which last week put itself up for sale as its struggles with a drop in gold prices, today reported a 77 per cent slump in annual profits.

The firm’s chairman, Greville Nicholls, said Albemarle has already received expressions of interest from potential buyers, but “there can be no certainty that an offer will be made”.

For the year to the end of June, the pawnbroker posted a pre-tax profit of £4.9 million, down from £21.4m a year earlier, as it was hit by a drop in sales and counted the cost of a restructuring exercise that has seen the closure of most of its “pop-up” gold-buying stores.

Revenues fell 9 per cent to £107.1m and the group’s net debt has risen to £50.6m by 2 December, from £46.2m at the end of June.

Nicholls said: “Since the year end, the competitive and trading environment has continued to be challenging with no signs of recovery in the group’s key trading metrics of pawnbroking advances or gold buying.”