H&T is cashing in while banks tighten up on loans

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The Independent Online

With High Street banks cutting the amount of unsecured loans by a fifth since the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago, demand for traditional lending by pawnbrokers has soared.

The country's largest chain H&T saw profits rise 14 per cent to £23.5m while the pledge book (outstanding loans book) increased by 18 per cent to £46.6m.

The growth was also fuelled by the 24 per cent leap in the price of gold during 2011, which drove traffic at its pop-up GoldBar units in shopping malls.

The group plans to add another 25 outlets this year to the 166 it already has. The full-year dividend is up 13 per cent to 10.75p.