It’s the age of the pawnbroker, says Sheffield store’s parent firm

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Pawnbroker Albemarle and Bond Holdings has unveiled plans to open 25 new stores and create 300 jobs.

The company, which owns the Herbert Brown store on Sheffield’s Pinstone Street, predicts 2012 will herald the ‘age of the pawnbroker,’ when the industry finally shakes off the misconceptions that surround it.

Chief executive Barry Stevenson says: “With fewer people able to get credit through the banks, pawnbroking has an opportunity to play an increasingly important role in many people’s finances, whether they need some quick cash to get the car through its MOT, or run a business and need some cash to tide them over until a customer pays.

“Unlike overdrafts and credit cards, our customers know exactly what they are paying back and when, which helps them manage their day-to-day cash flow without any hidden charges.

“The pawnbroking industry has worked hard to change its image over recent years and people outside of our existing customer base are now starting to understand how we work and recognise the value of the services we offer – it truly is the age of the pawnbroker. Since the recession, retail rates for high street locations have finally returned to a sensible level which allows us to be where our services are needed.

“However, compared to places like the US, the pawnbroking market here is still drastically under-served.

“We intend to address that through our expansion into new locations and by developing new channels to help people access our services more easily.”

Albemarle and Bond Holdings says the latest expansion will bring the number of stores operating under the Albemarle Bond and Herbert Brown brands to more than 175, in addition to 42 Herbert Brown gold buying sites.