PAWNBROKER Ramsdens is preparing to double its size within five years as demand for quick no-strings loans shows no sign of slowing.
The Middlesbrough company has topped its 2012 target of opening 100 stores and is now planning to open another 100, spreading its name further across the UK.
The business has grown from a modest cheque-cashing business in 1950 into the UK’s biggest independent pawnbroking firm.
Turnover jumped from £13m in 2008 to £27m in 2009, £34m in 2010 and £50m last year. Its recent surge in business is expected to bring in another £6m this year and grow substantially over the next five years. Last year staff numbers rose by 67 to 360 and that is expected to double over the next three to five years.
Chief executive Peter Kenyon said: “We have something which has been welcomed by customers and numbers are growing all the time.
“We are 17% up on last year in the first six months of 2012 and there is no sign that it is in any way slowing down. It is going the other way.”
And he said that earnings were still strong compared with its bigger listed rivals.
Albemarle and Bond recently posted a profit warning and the other major national pawnbroker, H&T, saw earnings drop 27%.
A slump in gold prices and poor weather and rising competition were among the factors blamed for the fall.
But Kenyon is bullish about an expansion plan which he says will probably cost £5m a year over five years. The firm will partly fund the strategy out of its own profits and it has just secured a £15m financing facility from HSBC to support the investment.