Albemarle & Bond Pawnbrokers (A&B Pawnbrokers) and Herbert Brown have shuttered stores across the country, in a sudden move that has left customers in the dark over the whereabouts of items pawned with the businesses.
In a statement on its website, the pawnbrokers apologised for “any inconvenience that may be caused by the store closure”, and according to the BBC, owner Speedloan Finance has “not made it clear if any of the 116 stores will remain open”.
The National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) said the pawnbroker’s decision to downscale UK operations is a “strategic matter” for the company, but also expressed its concern that the communication of its actions to its customers “falls below the standards expected of its members”.
It added that it was “most unhappy” with the fact that customers have been unable to get through to the helpline, and demanded that the management of the company resolve this as a “matter of urgency”.
A statement by the NPA read: “The pawnbroking market is a successful sub billion pound market offering secured loans against items, typically jewellery. Nearly all companies in the UK market are members of the NPA.
“Most members are experiencing market growth and in fact the two largest companies have both reported double digit growth percentages in their latest figures (H&T and Ramsdens). Most pawnbrokers offer a range of services from travel money and money transfer to jewellery sales and gold buying.”