H&T Group plc ("H&T" or "the Group") is pleased to provide a trading update for the financial year ended 31 December 2016.
H&T expects to report its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2016 on 13 March 2017.
The Board expects full year profit before tax to be marginally ahead of current market expectations.
During the year the Group has made significant progress in the development of its business model with strong growth in Personal Loans, Buyback and FX. The increase in the sterling gold price since the EU referendum result has also increased profits from both the Pawnbroking Scrap and Gold Purchasing segments.
The Group delivered a strong operational performance in its lending activities. The pledge book increased 5.9% to £41.3m (31 December 2015: £39.0m) driven by the new format for pawnbroking services focused on higher value loans at lower interest rates. The Personal Loans book increased 123.8% to £9.4m (31 December 2015: £4.2m); while the majority of this growth was generated by the H&T store estate, online and broker channels also performed well.
During the year the Group closed eight under-performing stores; at 31 December 2016, the Group operated from 181 stores, comprising 146 H&T Pawnbrokers stores and 35 est1897 retail focused stores.