Ramsdens to open 30 more stores

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Independent pawnbroker Ramsdens plans to open 30 new stores this year after its turnover passed the £50m mark for the first time.

The family-owned pawnbroker and jewellers, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, grew turnover by 52 per cent to £54m in 2011.

The firm, which has 11 branches across Yorkshire, reported a particular increase in pawnbroking loans, which chief executive Peter Kenyon said would help to drive the business forward.

He added: “We are not far off opening our 100th branch and that will soon be followed by many more in our key customer areas of North East England, South Wales and Scotland.”

Ramsdens created 67 new jobs through expansion in 2011, taking its current number of staff to 360.

Mr Kenyon said: “The current economic climate has put the spotlight back onto pawnbroking as a reasonably cost effective way of borrowing money but it is nothing new: it has been in existence for hundreds of years.

“Our branches are reporting a resurgence of interest in pawnbroking loans where people can secure an instant cash loan against an item of jewellery.

“People are attracted by the fact that it is a way of borrowing money that they are in control of, it’s quick and easy – and they get their jewellery back.”

Ramsdens, which is headquartered in Middlesbrough, opened eight new stores in 2011, expanding its network to 92.

Mr Kenyon said the business had grown steadily for many years and it was proud to have created jobs and provided investment in those areas where it had opened branches.

“Our business ethos centres on providing a professional service with huge emphasis on excellent customer service and in bright modern surroundings that provide a welcoming environment for all our customers,” he added.

“This is not what people have perhaps associated with pawnbroking in the past but our model for the twenty-first century is very popular with our customers so we are optimistic about business prospects for the forthcoming year.”

As well as pawnbroking, Ramsdens sells jewellery and foreign currency and buys gold and silver. Its Yorkshire stores are in Doncaster, Halifax, Leeds, Rotherham, Sheffield and York.