Pawnbrokers chain H&T has said it is set to beat profit targets for 2020 as people continued to cash in valuable items and demand for second-hand goods remained resilient.
Shares in the company jumped after it told investors that it expects full-year pre-tax profit to be ahead of market expectations for the year.
It said it was particularly buoyed by “stronger than anticipated” trading in November and December, despite lockdown measures.
Almost all of the group’s 253 stores remain open as pawnbroking, foreign exchange, cheque cashing and money transfer have been deemed essential services by the Government.
H&T said it has also continued to offer retail jewellery through click & collect and home delivery services, with its online business operating as usual.
The group said it saw returns from precious metal scrappage jump 58% on the previous year, with high gold prices throughout the period and hard-up customers seeking to cash products in.
Meanwhile, retail jewellery sales were particularly strong in the run up to Christmas, with sales for the six months to December down only 6% on the prior year.
Chris Gillespie, chief executive of H&T, said: “I have joined H&T in a strong position.
“We have ended 2020 robustly with an outturn ahead of expectations, showing the strength of the company in these challenging conditions.
“We serve the communities where we operate – through our in-store, online and telephone offerings – and the compliant and high quality of service provided by our store and support colleagues remains our key strength.
“I look forward to the future of H&T with confidence.”
Shares in the company moved 8.3% higher to 292.5p in early trading.