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Pawns become kings

Broke Britons flocked to pawnbrokers last year to swap their valuables for cash, according to Pawnbrokers H&T Group.

The company has announced expected pre-tax profits to exceed the market expectations after a bumper year.

The recession has been a bumper time for pawnbrokers, and with more than 130 shops offering pawnbroking, payday advances, and cheque cashing, H&T is one of the country's biggest.

‘The group's pawnbroking business experienced record lending levels in 2010, driven by an increased average loan and new store additions,’ a statement from the company read.

H&T saw the total value of pledges rise by more than £2m since June to £39.5m.

The firm’s main competitor Abermarle & Bond has also experienced growth and has recently joined the British Retail Consortium, a move that indicates that pawnbrokers are becoming increasingly mainstream high street businesses.

Even supermarket chain Tesco has entered the industry, with its Gold Exchange scheme.

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