H&T Group PLC, the UK’s biggest pawnbroker, reported record retail sales and strong pledge books in December.
According to a trading update, the company stated that pawnbroking loans are in high demand. This was evident by the pledge book increasing to PS99mln at the end of December 2022. This is a 48% increase year-on-year.
Retail sales in the pre-Christmas trading period were also robust, with watch sales being a particular highlight, after a slightly quieter-than-anticipated November. Retail sales for the full year rose by more than 30% to PS48mln. Foreign exchange and other services performed well.
The company stated that it was confident that full year results would be consistent with market forecasts.
The group had 267 stores at the end of December 2022. Ten additional stores were added throughout the year. Nine more locations are in the pipeline and will be open in the first half 2023.
McNamara resigns from the board
H&T also announced the resignation of Peter McNamara, who served 17 years on the board, and was chair for 14 years. He will now focus his efforts on business interests outside the group.
Simon Walker, who joined as a non-executive board director in September 2022 will assume the chair position effective April 1.
McNamara released a statement reflecting on his 17-year tenure as a pawnbroker. Although the stock was founded more than 125 years ago, it has proven its strength in the past year.
“All of this is due to our outstanding employees, who have managed the business day-to-day and built strong, lasting relationships with customers. They will all be greatly missed by me. Simon will take over as my chair.
Walker said: “Peter has guided the business successfully through an ever-changing economy over the past 14 years. I am delighted to be able to assume the chair of an exceptional business that has a clear growth strategy and a strong leadership team. We also have outstanding colleagues across the company.
The company stated that a recruitment process is in progress to increase the diversity of skills and experience on the board.