Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond expects full year trading to be at the top end of analyst expectations as soaring gold prices attracts new customers.

It said its pledge book had jumped 23.9% in the ten months to April 30.

The chain has pushed ahead with its expansion programme in its current financial year which ends on June 30. It will have opened 28 stores over the year, which it said are all performing ahead of expectations. It has also continued to develop pop-up stores and expects to have 40 trading at its year end.

It said it sees an opportunity to further expand its network as pawnbroking stores are “under-represented” compared to other markets such as the US.

Albemarle & Bond chief executive Barry Stevenson said: “Now we are well into the store roll-out programme, the 16 new greenfield stores opened in 2010 are now profit positive as a group and there will be a better balance to the business as the stores continue to mature.

“We believe margins from gold buying are stable and whilst we do not expect to sustain the recent exceptional 20% plus like-for-like growth in the pledge book in the medium term, we are targeting a positive market leading expansion rate to help drive overall profitability.”