Pawnbroker H&T is to start selling jewellery online and in its Gold Bar fascia stores as it seeks to extend its retail offer.

H&T, which has 128 pawnbroker shops and almost 60 Gold Bar retail merchandising units, currently only buys second-hand jewellery online and at Gold Bar. This month it opened a Gold Bar station in Welwyn Garden City, where it will trial selling jewellery, and it will roll out the model if it succeeds.

In the first quarter of next year H&T will also start selling jewellery online after buying online pawnbroker Red Lime in May.

Chief executive John Nichols said the company remained acquisitive for smaller jewellery stores. “There are lots of single-unit ‘mom and pop’ shops finding retail very tough at the moment,” he said.

Nichols added that H&T would continue rolling out its eponymous stores, which buy and sell jewellery. About 40 new stores are planned for the next two years. He added that retail had been “surprisingly strong” this year, with sales of gold improving and silver and diamonds remaining popular.

H&T is also selling a wider range of cheaper, fashion-led products to get customers through the door. “If we can attract customers with a £20 fashion watch, they are much more likely to come in later for a more substantial purchase,” he said.