Albemarle & Bond have been hailed as the new age of pawnbrokers after they unveiled plans to open 25 new stores and create 300 jobs in 2012. The group currently have 169 stores and 38 pop up shops which buy unwanted gold, and say that they are going to be taking full advantage of the lower rents on the high street to open their new outlets next year.
Albermarle say that they have greatly benefited from the increasingly tight lending criteria of the banks that are failing to provide the public with inexpensive and straightforward ways of borrowing. Barry Stevenson is their chief executive, and he says that this trend, and the efforts within the pawnbroking industry to change their image in recent years means that 2012 will herald the return of the pawnbroker.
He also said that now that fewer people were able to get credit from banks, pawnbroking is set to play an increasingly important role in the finances of many, whether they need cash to inject into a business or just some quick cash for something like a car MOT.
Albemarle are based in Reading and also trade under the name of Herbert Brown, and they believe that compared to the US, the pawnbroking industry is still seriously under served in the UK. They also believe, however, that the recession is actually helping their expansion plans due to store rents being dropped to sensible levels and they recently announced higher profits for the twentieth year in succession, up by 5% to £21m for the year ending June 2011.