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Albemarle & Bond warns that trading remains challenging

Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond has reported that its trading environment has remained challenging with no signs of recovery in the key trading metrics of pawnbroking advances or gold buying.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Albemarle & Bond warns that trading remains challenging

Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond has reported that its trading environment has remained challenging with no signs of recovery in the key trading metrics of pawnbroking advances or gold buying.

The group’s pledge book has declined by 12% year-on-year as of 23 November 2013 as advances continue to be under pressure from a competitive market and a falling gold price. In addition, the gold price has seen further weakness and, as of 26 November 2013, is 27% below the average price for March 2013.

As a result, Albemarle & Bond expects to incur a loss at EBITDA level in the first five months of the financial year despite action taken to control operating costs, including the closure of all but two of its gold buying pop-up shops.

The group has delayed the publication of its 2013 annual report because of the current uncertainties.

Albemarle & Bond said in a statement: “Partly as a result of the group having not yet reported results for the year ended 30 June 2013, market expectations for the current financial year have not taken account of the trading trends described above, and in previous announcements. As a result the Board believes that market expectations are significantly more optimistic than its own.”

Chris Gillespie, chief executive of Albemarle & Bond, added: "Tough trading conditions have continued to impact our results, but we are making progress controlling costs and managing within our constrained banking facilities."

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