H&T ahead of forecasts after strong Q4

H&T Group expects full year pre-tax profits to be above current market forecasts following a strong fourth quarter for pawnbroking and retail.

The group said it had delivered another good performance in its lending operations.

The pledge book increased 11.6% to £46.1m at the end of December (31 Dec 2016: £41.3m) as a result of the higher gold price, the concession format and an increase in loans on quality watches.

The personal loans book has increased by 94.7% to £18.3m (31 Dec 2016: £9.4m) as a result of the expansion in the group's longer term, lower interest rate loan product.

Chief executive John Nichols said: 'We have made real progress in delivering the strategy in the past year.

'We have expanded the range of personal loan products available to enable our customers to access cheaper loans and provide an opportunity to rebuild their credit score.

'We have improved retail through an expanded range of new jewellery and the development of both click-and-collect and online sales.

'The group's performance over the past two years demonstrates the success of our strategy to access new customers and markets.

'Demand for our products remains strong and we look to the future with confidence.'