Pawnbrokers have continued to benefit from the downturn, results from H&T and Cash Converters indicated this week.

H&T reported that interim pre-tax profits soared 70.6% to £14.5m and that full-year performance will be at the top end of market expectations. Retail sales were ahead 22% to £8.6m.

H&T opened six stores for the period, increasing its portfolio to 128 and is continuing to expand with new sites and acquisitions of small jewellery stores.

KBC Peel Hunt analyst John Stevenson upgraded H&T’s full-year pre-tax profit forecast by £2m to £23m.

The retailer has reduced its net debt from £42.3m at the end of December to £30.4m.

Stevenson said: “This fall in net debt is sustainable and we may see a further reduction by the year-end, underpinning the balance sheet for further organic growth and acquisitions.”

Meanwhile, Australian-owned Cash Convertors reported that its UK EBIT rose 13% to £1.1m in the year to June 30.