H&T PLC (LON:HAT), the AIM-listed pawnbroker, has confirmed its shops will stay open during the latest lockdown while the high gold price and strong demand for watches have boosted profits.
In a trading update, H&T said all 253 stores are currently open and will remain so throughout November.
Pawn pledges and loans are being repaid in line with normal rates, it added, though a more prudent approach to lending had reduced the outstanding loan book to GBP48mln at end-October.
Retail sales have been strong, with good demand for high-quality jewellery and watches while the price of gold has boosted profits both in pawnbroking and gold purchasing, the group said in a business update.
These strong performances have more than offset weakness in the foreign currency due to less travel, H&T added.
Net cash is approximately GBP30mln with net assets of GBP134mln.
In the statement, John Nichols, the group’s chief executive, said: “H&T is in very good health during this unprecedented time, with a strong performance in our retail operations and a prudent approach to lending.
“In addition to our websites, our stores remain open for business, in line with Government requirements, with over GBP30m in cash to support our customers. Overall we are performing in line with plans and currently ahead of market expectations for the year.”
H&T said it continues to work closely with the FCA in respect of their HCSTC lending review and had appointed a Skilled Person in this regard.
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