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H&T profits hit by slump in gold prices

Pawnbroker H&T Group has reported that difficult trading conditions and a reduced gold price have impacted its first-half profits.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

H&T profits hit by slump in gold prices

Pawnbroker H&T Group has reported that difficult trading conditions and a reduced gold price have impacted its first-half profits.

In the six months to 30 June 2013, the group’s pre-tax profit was £4.65 million compared to £ 7.5 million in the same period in the previous year.

John Nichols, H&T chief executive, said: "Trading conditions have been difficult for the group in the first half of 2013. The competitive environment, reduced volumes of gold in circulation and regulatory pressures have all impacted financial performance."

H&T’s pledge book increased by 3.9% to £48.6 million while its pawn service charge rose to £14.8 million from £14.7 million a year ago.

The group opened four greenfield sites and acquired three stores in the period which took the total store estate to 193 at 30 June although the group has slowed its rate of expansion in line with market conditions.

First half retail sales fell by 2.6% to £8.9 million while like-for-like retail sales dropped 12% year-on-year.

Retail gross profits decreased to £4 million from £4.4 million a year ago as an increased average loan on forfeited pledges reduced the group's disposition margins.

H&T is continuing to invest in its retail operations through staff training, store refurbishments and maintaining appropriate stock levels.

Nichols added: “Retail remains important to the long term success of the group acting both as an attractor to pawnbroking customers and as a hedge in the event of a falling gold price.”

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