Pawnbroker and jeweller Albemarle & Bond reported that trading is in line with expectations and its store opening programme is on track.

Albemarle & Bond said that in the first four months of its financial year there was double-digit like-for-like growth in its pawnbroking pledge book, mainly driven by higher average loan sizes.

The retailer expects to have opened 16 stores by the end of the first half out of a total of 25 planned for the year. The opening programme is expected to have “some initial dilutive effect on profits”.

Albemarle & Bond said: “The gold jewellery market remains very challenging and we are focused on our retail offer as we enter the key Christmas retail trading period”.

Last month Albemarle & Bond became the first pawnbroker to join the BRC, which it said “is a significant milestone for what is becoming an increasingly mainstream business on the UK high street”.