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 £48mln 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 £30mln with net assets of £134mln.
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 £30m 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.
Shares rose 11% to 222p.