Pawnbroker Cash Converters reported record group profits for the 6 months to December 31 as its retail sales soared in the UK.

UK retail sales at the Australian based retailer grew 14.1% over the period. Profits across the group, which operates in the UK and Australia, grew to AUS$14.3m (£8.9m), up 42.2%.

The pawnbroker said it expects to exceed its full-year profit target of AUS$27m to AUS$27.5m (£16.9m - £17.2m).

Cash Converters is continuing to purchase franchised stores, snapping up 6 outlets in the UK. It also opened 7 new stores over the period.  It now owns 41 of its 178 UK stores.

Revenue rose by 48.3% to AUS$87.9m (£54.9m) for the half year across the group; company-owned stores accounted for AUS$48.3m (£30.2m) of revenue, up 61.7%.

The pawnbroker is looking to expand in Scotland and has acquired a licence to develop in the country, where there are currently 10 franchised stores. It said there is the potential to open 60 stores in the region.