Gold rush boosts A&B profits

Albemarle & Bond said its gold-buying service contributed nearly a fifth of total profits in its first full year of operation.

The company said an "explosion" of advertising in the sector raised customer awareness of the price of gold – which hit a record $1,300 an ounce this week – leading to an increase in profits for the 19th year in a row.

Albermarle has offered gold-buying services alongside its core pawnbroking business in its main stores since 2009. In the last financial year it has also trialled temporary "pop-up shops" in shopping centres to buy gold.

Albermarle posted a 26 per cent rise in gross profits to £53.6m, of which gold-buying contributed £11.5m. Pre-tax profits saw a 37 per cent rise to £20m. The company, which hopes to increase the number of pop-up shops from 19 to 25 in the current year, said it saw a long-term future in the gold-buying business.